BLACK Country businesses are being urged to support a thriving Gornal fitness centre and community hub that is helping tackle anti-social behaviour and isolation.

Black Country Wellbeing Centre in Vale Street, Upper Gornal, has been transformed out of the ruins of a derelict building and has recently become a Community Interest Company (CIC), as it continues to help the community tackle loneliness, crime and mental health issues.

This means it is now in a position to to accept donations to help it continue its work to help people across the community tackle isolation and support mental wellbeing.

Wade Cooper and Adam Bradley, the driving forces behind the ambitious project, have already taken the disused building and created a hub where more than 150 young people and adults come every week for boxing, to play football and attend fitness classes.

Now, they want to go a step further and build a cafe and music studio in the Gornal centre.

Wade explained: "We’ve had no funding to date so everything has been done through the hard work of volunteers and people donating equipment to us. It has been an amazing response and helped us get up and running.

"The response from the local community has been incredible and we are now seeing hundreds of children, teenagers and the elderly come through our doors and take part in activities. This proved to me that the appetite for the centre was there and we want to develop it so that it becomes a real focal point of the community.”

He continued: “Our next big plan is around creating a café for people to meet and where we could hold mutual interest groups to prevent isolation or as a way of tackling local issues. This would then be followed by building a music studio - we’ve got some great talent around here, but nowhere for them to go and practice.

“We are appealing for local businesses, tradespeople and volunteers to come forward and help us whilst we see if our application for funding is successful. This could be through donations, corporate sponsorship, leasing equipment to us or just getting your hands dirty with the building work.”

The venture has been supported by Dudley North MP Ian Austin, who praised Wade and Adam's 'tremendous' achievements.

Ian Austin MP said: "The work that Wade, Adam and their army of volunteers have done is tremendous and is vitally important to the area and local residents.

“The once derelict building has been transformed, making it a real hub for the community again. It focuses on working with young people to tackle important issues, such as anti-social behaviour, crime and gang culture, but also to equip them with some of the vital skills they will need throughout their lives.”

Adam Bradley added: “We are so grateful for the support we’ve received, but we have to keep improving the centre and the activities we are providing. There’s no limit to our imagination, with talks already taking place about securing funding for a 3G football pitch that will replace the grass one that has seen better days.

“Upper Gornal deserves a community hub and we are well on the way to delivering it.”

In honour of Wade’s efforts, he has been nominated for an Outstanding Citizens Award by David Jamieson, the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner and will find out if he has been successful on July 11.