At the heart of many local areas is a community centre, a safe place for people of all ages and backgrounds to come together and connect with one another.
Investing in social projects is an incredibly important part of Triodos Bank’s mission to make money work for positive change, and we were delighted to experience one of these projects come to life at the official opening of the YMCA’s Community and Activity Village in Newark, Nottinghamshire.
This is a flagship project for YMCA, and one we funded with a £6.75 million term loan and a £3 million crowdfunding bond. The Village has been designed to bring together private businesses, charities and the community in one single and financially sustainable space.
This is a blueprint for these centres across the UK, and the hope is to open up more and more not-for-profit community spaces across the country to integrate family programmes with world-class education, sports and arts facilities designed to empower local people to belong, contribute and thrive.
Speaking at the opening event, Todd Cauthorn, executive director of YMCA Newark and Sherwood, said: “It is my absolute honour to welcome people into this incredible Village, which we hope will play a positive role in shaping the future of local people for many years to come.
“The size and scale of this project is unique for a YMCA, with a £17 million investment into the local community. None of this would have been possible without the many sponsors, supporters, donors and colleagues who have worked tirelessly in creating a facility that sits at the heart of this wonderful community.”
Triodos Bank UK senior relationship manager, Mavric Webbstock, was invited to the opening event in July and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the development changes with his own eyes. “It was great to see such an incredible example of what YMCA could provide to even more local communities,” explained Mavric.
“The Community and Activity Village is an amazing hub for charitable organisations who can offer healthcare, support services, educational facilities, childcare, office space, conference halls and world-class sporting facilities – and a café!”
The Village has been designed with the community in mind and as part of a wider social mobility agenda to bring opportunities to people in the surrounding areas. Members will have access to the full suite of activities at the Village, including a strength and conditioning gym, fitness classes, indoor and outdoor training areas, athletics track, multi-use courts and the largest climbing centre in the region.
There are also versatile spaces open to local businesses, an events and conference centre and an outdoor terrace.
Mavric adds: “We are proud supporters of YMCA Newark and Sherwood - a charity dedicated to improving long-term healthy living, youth development and social responsibility. It’s only through the support of our savings customers and crowdfunding investors that we’re able to provide the finance to help turn this dream project into a reality.”
Why we finance social projects
We support the personal development of individuals, by financing businesses that address specific social objectives. In this sector, we lend to not-for-profit employment programmes, youth help centres and integration programmes and more.