A BUILDER with a passion for martial arts has realised his dream by opening a gym in his home town.

Matt Inskip said he was looking for premises after holding classes for several years in sports centres in Holywell, Flint and Connah’s Quay.

Matt approached Flintshire Council and proposed running the gym as a not-for-profit charity in the former Holywell library.

“The idea for the gym started when the library came up as a community asset transfer from Flintshire Council over two years ago,” said Matt, who is calling the new gym Toe2Toe.

“All our classes before were done in sports centres, but we always wanted our own gym.

“We registered as a charity in November last year and got the keys for the building in January.

“Our aim is to be as active as we can with boxing, Thai boxing and jujitsu for all levels of ability.

“Everyone will be able to train together because every inch of the gym is disabled friendly.

“One of our other key aims is to include children with behaviour problems to improve their confidence, wellbeing and self esteem.

“We have ABA approved instructors and black belt jujitsu instructors who will be self employed, but we will have staff positions as well.”

Matt has clocked up almost 1,000 hours renovating and equipping the gym which has a boxing ring and safety training floor.

Celebrity fighter and former Hollyoaks actor Alex Reid was invited to visit the gym. He said he took up Kung Fu as a bullied teenager to help build his confidence.

“Martial arts and mixed martial arts are growing and growing and I do see them as an art,” said Alex.

“This is a fantastic sport for young people to get involved in and this gym will help with their confidence and life skills.

“I’m very impressed, it’s looks very clean and professional with excellent equipment and facilities.”