Questions over gym as new fitness centre opens

A NEW fitness club is opening at the premises of a former young people's gym in Mirfield.

The original gym, set up to keep teenagers off the streets, was started by Glyn Bellwood and had financial support from the local councils.

But the failure of the project has left businessman Glyn Bellwood feeling bitter and let down.

And its demise has also sparked a spate of questions about equipment bought with public money.

Coun Martyn Bolt (Con, Mirfield) wants to know what has happened to assets installed at the G-Sport Young Adults scheme.

Featuring boxing and other activities, Glyn launched the scheme to give young people an alternative to crime and hanging around the streets. But the doors were locked late last year amid talk of unpaid bills.

Coun Bolt said: "Glyn Bellwood has pulled out and decisions need to be made about the equipment bought."

The Mirfield area committee put around 7,000 into the venture and Mirfield town council 18,000.

But the new fitness club will have a completely new owner and is an entirely private enterprise. A former professional footballer is behind the project.

Roy Ellam, who runs Fitness Connection in Ravensthorpe, is launching a commercial health centre.

Roy, who played for Huddersfield Town and Leeds Utd, is giving the venue a makeover before its relaunch as Roy Ellam's Premier Health Club.

Roy's daughter Jeannie said the family-run club would include aerobics, run by well-known instructor Sam Cullingworth, a beauty room, hairdressing, a sauna and fitness machinery. Roy, 66, also aims to offer soccer coaching.

"We are starting from scratch," she said. "The place will be completely revamped with new equipment in place."

Jeannie, whose husband Mo Nawaz is part of the family team, had no idea what has happened to the existing equipment.

"We only know that it was taken away. Initially, we thought we might buy it," she said.

The first phase could be open in two months.

As the Ellam family got down to business, Glyn Bellwood said the rug was pulled from under him when vital local support was lost.

"I got funding for the project then politics took away the support and the schools stopped coming. I am bitter," he said.

With a constitution set up by Kirklees council, GSYA ran for three years and helped more than 2,000 young people.

"I am devastated for the kids," said Glyn. "Many of the lads we helped have ended up back in jail. What we did worked. I am deeply upset but I thank the people who did help me."