Express & Star

Gornal community centre which has won awards looking to open over the weekends with alcohol licence bid

A popular Upper Gornal community centre may be allowed to serve alcohol at weekends if an application for a licence is granted.

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Founder Wade Cooper (front) outside the Black Country Wellbeing centre

The Black Country Welllbeing Centre in Vale Street want to put on weekend functions to bring in income.

The committee have applied to Dudley Council for the alcohol licence covering the hours of Friday 6pm-11pm, Saturday 3pm-11pm and Sunday from noon-11pm. They also want to be able to serve alcohol on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve from 6pm-midnight.

It was opened in 2019 in a derelict building once used by the Vale Street Youth Centre and was the brainchild of Wade Cooper who turned his life around after being released from prison and wanted to give something back to the community. He started by holding boxing and fitness session for youngsters as a way of taking them off the streets and giving them a purpose.

Two years later it was a thriving community interest concern encompassing boxing, football and fitness classes and a wide range of other activities for people of all ages housing clubs and community events. They hold twice weekly lunch clubs on a Wednesday and Friday providing warm spaces for people in the community

Volunteers and neighbours have also worked on the garden to the rear of the centre which had been left overgrown and neglected for several years.

In 2021, Mr Cooper won the Frank Foley award for community spirit and has won praise for turning the centre into a thriving concern.

But the organisation doesn't qualify for public or council funding and it is thought the licence would be used to provide income from drinks sales at weekend events.

The full application can be inspected by contacting the Licensing Section between 8am and 4pm Monday to Friday at Dudley Council House or it can viewed online at,uk

Any representation should be made in writing until February 27 to Strategic Director Place, Licensing Services, Unit 1 Hurst Business Park, Narrowboat