Newark Town, based in Nottinghamshire, are one of six clubs dedicating matches to Kick It Out on Non League Day.

They play in the Central Midlands League North Division, the eleventh tier of English football.

Like all the sides partnering with Kick It Out this year, their commitment to equality and inclusion goes far beyond the level expected from volunteer-led organisations.

As well as their men’s and boys’ teams, they have a women’s team, three girls’ teams and two disability teams.

In total, more than 200 people play for Newark - and they are keen to create a pathway to the first team for their youngsters. That thinking is a central part of their plans for Non League Day.

“We want young players who start with us aged seven to see they can be playing for the first team when they’re old enough,” says Chris Wade, one of the club’s volunteers.

“The main thing we are doing [on Non League Day] is getting the mascots involved. We want to make sure our junior section is connected with our senior side. In previous years they were separate.”

All of Newark’s sides now have the same kit design, which has helped to create a family feel about the place. Members of the junior set-up are also allowed to watch their team for free.

Newark recently created the position of respect officer who, with training from themselves and Nottinghamshire FA, will help uphold respect and good behaviour at every match to help set a good example for the next generation.

Things are looking up for a club who, until recently, played their home games in a village seven miles away.

Since relocating closer to home, attendances have more than tripled from an average gate of around 50 to as many as 170.

“It makes a massive difference,” says Chris.

Another sizable crowd is expected this weekend for their top-of-the-table clash against promotion rivals Retford.

Newark are unbeaten so far this season and sit top of the table, with seven wins from their eight matches so far. Their opponents are in fourth place with a game in hand.

“We’re doing well, they’re doing well. It should be a well-attended fixture,” Chris says.

“We’ve got a good squad and a few players that should be playing at a higher level. We should be challenging at the top.”

Chris started volunteering at Newark in 2012. After attending a match, he approached the club’s then chairman to offer his services.

Since then, he’s served as club secretary and even took over as chairman himself for a period. These days, when he’s not managing the website and social media accounts, he helps out as treasurer and under-11s coach.

“It’s rewarding but hard work. I was quite happy to do whatever was needed,” he says of his heroic efforts.

“Rewarding is the right word. I’m not a dad of any players on the team but I really do find it rewarding after a few sessions when something clicks.”

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