Thousands raised as local residents sail the seas to tackle social issues

Local residents from a town that’s rated low for life expectancy and social mobility have raised more than £18,000 so far in aid of YMCA Newark and Sherwood (N&S), to fund its new Community and Activity Village.

80 residents from the district were involved in a six-week national sailing relay around the whole of the UK. The locals had no prior sailing experience. The sail started in Portsmouth and circumnavigated Plymouth, Cardiff, Liverpool, Greenock, Inverness, Hull and London, where the Tower Bridge ceremoniously raised for them, before finishing back in Portsmouth. The expedition was a joint venture between YMCA N&S and Tall Ships Youth Trust, the UK’s oldest sail training charity.

When the final group of sailors arrived back in Portsmouth, the home of Tall Ships, they were greeted by Duran Duran frontman Simon Le Bon, an ambassador of the sailing charity. The pop star began sailing when he was a child and his support helps the Trust to create more sailing opportunities for individuals.

Thousands raised as local residents sail the seas to tackle social issues
Loch Ness

Residents as young as 13 took part in the sail, where they ate, slept and lived on board for between four and six days straight. They also celebrated with other local YMCAs as each new crew navigated the waves. Other participants included apprentices, college students, council workers and YMCA residents living in the charity’s supported accommodation following a period of homelessness.

The first of its kind Community Village will help to reduce the lack of opportunities to the rural area which is currently ranked 323rd out of 324 by the Social Mobility Commission.

The scale ranks all of the local authorities in England in terms of life chances of someone born into a disadvantaged background. The East Midlands has been identified as the region with the worst outcomes for those from disadvantaged backgrounds, with Newark and Sherwood existing as the worst-performing local authority.

The donations will help YMCA Newark and Sherwood to continue building spaces in the Village, which will offer integrated family programmes, sensory classes, affordable world-class facilities, as well as scholarships for those needing a helping hand. The aim of the centre is to help young people to acquire skills which can set them up for life.

Thousands raised as local residents sail the seas to tackle social issues
College Students

Craig Berens, Chief Operating Officer of YMCA Newark and Sherwood, said:

“The cornerstone of our work is in creating equal life opportunities for all, no matter what their background is. Early life experiences educate your core values into adulthood and opportunities for young people to thrive often rely on an unfair postcode lottery which negatively affects social wellness, healthy living and youth development.

“We are delighted with the work of our sailing superstars in the expedition. The donations that keep coming in are so appreciated, as they will help us to make a real difference in our community. Our youngsters need the right support to believe in themselves, to get jobs, the right education, do what they love, and lead fulfilled lives.”

Thousands raised as local residents sail the seas to tackle social issues

YMCA is a national charity which supports youth development, healthy living and social responsibility to build stronger communities through a plethora of services. From accommodation for homeless young people to a range of skills-based training and apprenticeship schemes, the charity is based on Christian values of caring, honesty and respect.

Please visit for more information or to donate.