Plas Menai in North Wales will berenamed The Ken Newing National Outdoor Centre for 24 hours, with furthervenues at Twickenham, The KiaOval, Paula Radcliffe Athletics Track, Pinsent Redgrave Rowing Lake and TheGeraint Thomas Velodrome in England and Wales changing their names to honourlocal heroes.
Ken Newing, 70, is the RearCommodore Training & RYA Training Centre Principal at Clwb Hwylio Y Felinheli / PortDinorwic Sailing Club, which is close to the Plas Menai NationalOutdoor Centre in Caernarfon. Despite shielding, Ken brought the community together at a timewhen many would have otherwise been alone, organising e-sailing programmes andstarting conversations across social media encouraging club members to sharetheir stories of sailing.
The venue name changes and thespecial dedications are taking place following the findings of a new UK-widestudy commissioned by The National Lottery, which shows that two thirds of sportfans in Wales (63%) say the pandemic has increased their love of sports andappreciation for being active. Additionally, overa third (38%) believe 2020 should be the year we celebrate community sportspeoplein the same way we celebrate professionals, a similar number (30%) say the trying circumstances have made them even moreappreciative of local sports volunteers than before.
"I still haven't got overthe renaming. I was both shaken and stirred when I found out, I was really lostfor words,” said Ken
"The club is part of myfamily. During the summer, I tend to live outdoors and especially at thesailing club. It means a lot to me.
"This club is a group effort- there are a lot of people who are involved with this. Our commodores do a fantastic job,they are very good people and this wouldn't be possible without them."We are the heart of the communityand the community are a huge part of what we do.
"Being family-based isreally big for us, it's a local membership and our racing turnouts are usuallymore during the week than at a weekend because we all live so close.
"There are lots of thingsthe club have done to make life nicer for people, to offer that atmospherewhere people can be welcome."We get a lot of support inthe village; people can see what's going on. We're ordinary people - nothingmore.”
Ken has been involved with ClwbHwylio y Felinheli / Port Dinorwic Sailing Club for over 40 years and duringthat time has had a huge impact on sailing in his area - always encouraging new people to takeup the sport.
Throughout the pandemic, he represented theClub on every one of the Club Development Forums hosted by RYA Cymru Wales; alongside feeding back to the club onall the guidance and advice to provide a Covid-secureenvironment.
"Without people knowing it,we have been hugely funded by the The National Lottery not just in terms of ourfacilities, but the people as well."The funding makes all ofthis possible, people are learning to sail because of that and it means a lotto people.”
Dame Katherine Grainger, UK SportChair said, “It’s fantastic that sports across the nations have been able tocome together to celebrate grassroots champions who have gone above and beyondthis year. Around £30m a week is raised for good causes across the UK by peopleplaying The National Lottery, and has helped sport at all levels, from thesmallest rowing club to helping athletes prepare for the Tokyo Olympics nextyear.”
Sarah Powell, CEO of Sport Wales,said: “With the help of The National Lottery’s players, thousands of grassrootssports workers and volunteers from local clubs and organisations across the UKhave been be able to continue to help people and communities to remain active,connected and motivated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Grassroots sport also hasa fundamental role to play in providing much needed physical and mentalwellbeing in these difficult times.”
Hannah Mills,Cardiff-born Olympic Athlete and two time World Champion said: “The NationalOutdoor Centre has played such an important part in my life and it is wonderfulto see it dedicated to Ken Newing in this way. 2020 has greatly impacted allsports at grassroots level in particular, and thousands of people have not beenable to get the health benefits of being outside on the water and being activeas they usually would. The findings from The National Lottery show how muchpeople have missed the physical and social side of being part of their localclubs and Ken has helped keep smiles on people’s faces and boost morale throughhis work. On behalf of the whole sailing community, we are very grateful forthe work done by sports volunteers across the country this year.”