NESTON’S new £1m youth and community centre has opened for business.
The centre in Burton Road was built on the site of the old Neston Youth Club, which was bulldozed last year after falling into disrepair and suffering a series of arson attacks.
Its demolition left Neston without any dedicated centre for young people or to carry out youth work.
The land was originally donated to a trust in 1962 on the condition it served people under the age of 21.
The new building has been funded by £620,000 from the borough council and £458,000 from the North West Regional Development Agency (NWDA).
Paul Davies, a director of the centre, said: “The original youth club was closed on health and safety grounds five or six years ago as it had deteriorated to the extent that it became too costly to maintain.
“The only option was to replace it.
“I joined the management committee around then and was tasked with developing a strategy to take the idea forward.
“We couldn’t find any funding for a stand-alone youth club but I got together with West Cheshire College and the lifelong learning departments of Cheshire County Council and Ellesmere Port and Neston Borough Council and we developed the idea of a multi- purpose building which could be used by the community and young people.”
Developing a youth and community centre on the site was identified as a priority by the Neston Market Town Initiative.
Connexions has paid £15,000 towards the fitting out of the youth zone and an additional grant of £45,000 came from Waste Recycling Environmental (WREN).
The centre manager’s salary will be paid for the first two years by a grant from the Fair Share Trust.
Chairman Peter Weston said: “We have an IT suite which will be used for courses by West Cheshire College, training rooms, meeting rooms and a youth zone which will be equipped with things like table tennis and a snooker table.
“We’re hoping the youth of Neston will appreciate it and also that businesses will come along and use the facilities here for meetings.
“We hope it’s going to be very successful.”
To book rooms at the centre call Helen Barrie on 336 7805 or e-mail email@example.com