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First phase of Newark's new community and activity village set to open soon

The first phase of a multi-million-pound community and activity village is set to open in Newark next month, as more details of the next phases are revealed.

When complete in 2020 the Newark and Sherwood YMCA Community and Activity Village will offer sports and community facilities that it is hoped will be used by a fifth of the population of the district over the next ten years.

It will provide 80 full-time and part-time jobs within three years of opening, and the YMCA hopes it will also improve the social mobility of young people in Newark.

An architect's view of the community building withinthe YMCA activity village. (4146171)
An architect's view of the community building withinthe YMCA activity village. (4146171)

The latest details of the project were unveiled at Friday’s meeting of Newark Business Club by YMCA operations manager Todd Cauthorn and project development manager Steve Scott.

“We are really excited about everything that is being developed at the site,” Todd Cauthorn said. “The people of Newark are going to be really spoiled.”

The first phase, which will be completed in October, includes an athletics track, two 3G all-weather sports pitches, carpark and temporary changing accommodation.

Future phases will see the building of a spacious central communal building with multiple uses, as part of the £13m total cost of the village.

The YMCA describes the complex as “a place that can be enjoyed by the whole community, reflecting the charity’s belief in a holistic approach to sports and family activity.”

The building will house a large family-friendly café and function rooms, meeting rooms, along with specialist facilities for activities including dance, music production, art studio, pottery, cooking, with accredited hospitality and catering training schemes, and a climbing wall.

It will also be the base for before and after-school clubs, a nursery and creche, day camps, and sports, health and well-being programmes.

Plans also incorporate an alternative education programme using onsite facilities to promote life and independence skills for learners currently not engaged or at the fringes of becoming not employed, in education or training.

Among its reasons for choosing Newark to site the project, the YMCA cites the town being 323 out of 324 by the Social Mobility Commission.

“The ward adjacent to our community and activity village (the Devon Ward) ranks in the top 1% in the most recent indices of deprivation, with issues around youth development, crime and health rating particularly highly.

“We will tackle the issues by focusing on what matters most – the children and young people. The evidence shows us that the primary trigger for social immobility is the poor educational attainment of young people, coupled with poorly-developed life skills.”

In addition to the sports pitches and athletics track, other outdoor facilities planned include a cycle track, a skate park, tennis courts and two multi-use games areas.

Work began on the site in May, and from October sports club including Newark Town Football Club and Newark Athletics Club will use the facilities on a weekly basis.

Newark Athletic club will for the first time be able to offer training in pole vaulting and host a throwing academy including Olympic sports such as discus, javelin, hammer throw and shot put.

The site, which will be accessible from Bowbridge Road and Elm Avenue, also reaches across to Balderton Lake, which will be used for water activities.

The director of operation and programmes at Nottinghamshire YMCA, Craig Berens, said: “The YMCA Community and Activity Village will be a real hub of activity. We believe that everyone should feel part of a family and be able to take part in healthy activity as a group; whether that’s a sports club, an interest group or wider movement.”

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