A YOUTH centre is opening its doors to the public ahead of the official launch in the autumn.
The Malpas Centre for Young People, being built in Chester Road next to the fire station, is almost complete after £240,000 National Lottery funding was secured by community leaders.
In the build-up to the launch in September, the centre will be open for inspection by members of the public so they can get an idea of what is on offer and make suggestions on how the facilities should be allocated and used.
Project chairman Eric Beak, of Cross O' Th' Hill Road, Nomansheath, near Malpas, said: 'This does not mean that the management committee is short of ideas, but it is definitely a case where more heads are better than a few - especially where we are trying to include everyone in our thinking.
'We will be on hand to welcome callers from 3pm through to 8.30pm on Wednesday, August 27, and Wednesday, September 3. People will be free to come at any time during these periods and we shall be happy to discuss and explain what is on offer and how we will be starting up.'
The completion of the building marks the end of a six-year mission to get facilities for young people in the rural area within a five-mile radius of Malpas.
Part of the grant will fund a development officer to help the centre maximise its potential during its first year. Cheshire Youth Federation and the project have jointly recruited Emma Rudd to take on the role.
A key aspect in Emma's work will be to provide the training and support needed for members of the public who are volunteering to help operate the centre.
The building will be divided into three sections - a large multi-purpose room with a stage; a 'chillout' zone with coffee bar and television; and a computer room with Internet access and office.
Mr Beak pointed out that young people had been involved from the outset, with 50% of those attending the first public meeting about the project being teenagers.
Since then Malpas Young Persons Parish Council had been set up to represent young people in community affairs.
This forum enabled young people to contribute to the development of the centre by, for example, briefing the architect from their own sketches.
They have been supported by Malpas Young Persons Project, a registered charity which aims to foster the full development of young people in the area. The charity's management committee tackles legal and financial issues that young people are not able to deal with themselves.
Running costs will be subsidised by letting the building to the local schools, careers advisers from Government agency Connexions and primary health groups, who can provide sex education and advice on alcohol and drugs.
Mr Beak told The Chronicle previously: 'While the countryside has many benefits, young people living there can feel isolated and deprived of facilities readily available in the main towns.
'This project sets out to enable young people to achieve their full potential, socially, financially and spiritually.
'By having a base that they can call their own, young people will have a real opportunity to socialise in quality surroundings throughout the year, rain or shine.
'They will soon learn the need for agreed norms and rules as they take responsibility for their building. Having a definite venue also makes it a lot easier to plug young people into advice they need on any issue that bothers them.'
Mr Beak added: 'Benefits are not likely to be one way. Experience so far suggests that the generation gap is narrowing through better understanding achieved by good communication paths.
'Volunteers working with young people enjoy the experience and older people are prepared to recognise that most young people are ready and able to play their part as good citizens if given the right opportunities and encouragement.'