25 November 2016

15134821_10154198014728111_6269863476580617379_nThis week, YMCA Black Country were delighted to welcome Celebrity TV presenter Adrian Chiles and the Bishop of Wolverhampton, The Right Revd Clive Gregory, who joined forces to officially open the new Western Gateway building in Carters Green, West Bromwich.

The £9.5m YMCA facility is now a commanding presence at the western entrance of West Bromwich and took eight years to develop from feasibility to completion.

Adrian Chiles, who visited the centre earlier in the year prior to completion, talked about his pride in the people of the Black Country when making his recent BBC Panorama programme, and how the making of his documentary My Mediterranean, gave him hope for humanity, and the importance that faith-based organisations like the YMCA have within society. Adrian remarked:

“Hearing the stories told by young people here today gives me great satisfaction, and I feel privileged to be part of today’s opening ceremony. I hope I feel the same way after the Baggies game tonight”.

The Baggies did him proud and went on to win 4-0 against Burnley.

Bishop Clive, who attended in his newly appointed role as patron of YMCA Black Country, reflected on his formative experience with the Simon Community in the East End of Glasgow, supporting women suffering from homelessness, and said:

“I am delighted to attend this official opening in my capacity as patron of YMCA Black Country Group. It is wonderful to see the positive impact that the YMCA is having on the lives of young people, and the transformative effect of believing-in and valuing people”

Steve Clay, YMCA Black Country CEO explained, “YMCA Western Gateway is where our commitment to community, enterprise and social mission collide in a fabulous mix of services for local people”.

Huge thanks to our funders, including £2.25M from the Homes & Community Agency, £3.4M from the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, and £188K from the European Regional Development Fund, and £3.6M from YMCA England.

Thanks too, to Sandwell Council who funded the initial feasibility and planning stages, and whose completion of the Farley Clock Tower car park marked the final stage of the Western Gateway redevelopment.