A new £500,000 community sporting facility in Willenhall has opened after the completion of the first phase of redevelopment was supported by local business.
The Black Country Performance Hub forms part of the Aspray Arena in Noose Lane, which is the home of West Midlands Regional League side Sporting Khalsa Football Club.
Since Sporting Khalsa took over the ground from Willenhall Town in 2010, it has undergone a major transformation with support from businesses including Biffa, Sita, Marston’s, Aspray 24, Fortel and Middleton Foods.
The completion of the Black Country Performance Hub (BCPH) means four outdoor floodlit 3G five-a-side football pitches and two fitness rooms designed for mixed martial arts, judo, wrestling, yoga and boxing.
The BCPH also includes changing rooms and the 442 Bar & Lounge, which is open seven days a week.
The pitches – previously an area of waste ground – are already in active use and management are keen to encourage the formation of five-a-side leagues.
Sponsors, supporters and dignitaries attended the opening including Walsall North MP David Winnock, Wolverhampton South MP Paul Uppal, leader of Walsall Council Sean Coughlan, chairman of Staffordshire FA Mike Stokes and President of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, Ninder Johal.
Rajinder Gill, chairman of Sporting Khalsa, said: “Our plans for both the club in terms of the site and the teams are ambitious and we hope the opening of the BCPH is a sign of just how high we have set our targets.
“The pitches and facilities will provide a fantastic resource for the community in Willenhall and the Black Country as a whole.
“The 3G pitches are the very latest technology and unlike anything in the area at the moment.”
He said the development would not have been possible without the business support the club received.
“Biffa, Sita, Marston's, Aspray 24, Fortel and Middleton Foods have all bought into our vision for the community and the sporting club and without their support, the site would still be derelict,” he added.
On the pitch, the club is doing well and it is hopeful of progressing up the non-league pyramid.
“For this to happen, we need somewhere that brings the community together and, with local authorities face challenges providing sporting services, we are delighted to have something state-of-the-art right here in Willenhall,” he said.
“This isn’t the end of our vision, however. There is still scope for further development as the BCPH grows and we thank everybody who has helped us get this far.”