TODAY marks just 50 days until the magnificent state-of-the-art Wigan Youth Zone opens its doors for the first time to the public.
It’s been a project which has captured the borough’s imagination and the excitement is now building towards June 8 when there will be a big launch party.
There’s no time to sit back and relax, though. The hard work has been ongoing since the idea was first conceived by Wigan businessmen Dave Whelan and Martin and Bill Ainscough and is set to continue in the coming weeks.
Staff are gradually taking up their posts, with Monday seeing an influx of new starters.
The Youth Zone, based on Parsons Walk, is looking more full every day with equipment slotting into place.
“Everyone is very excited,” said development manager Simon Baker. “It’s a big week this week, Monday was when most of our full-time staff started.
“So all week it’s been about team-building, everyone getting to know each other, understanding the building and having a look around and planning for how we’re going to make this place the best youth club in the country.
“It’s a really busy project. It’s not just any youth club, it’s a state-of-the-art building.
“So it’s anything from finishing off little bits of building work to equipment coming in room by room.”
The Youth Zone staff have been carefully selected with the three main men behind the project having a say in each and every employee.
What will also prove important is the vast amount of volunteers who will be giving up their time to help make the place tick and Simon says everyone has been astounded by the amount of people putting their names forward.
“We’ve had over 250 applications or expressions of interest in volunteering, which is mind-blowing really,” he added.
“We’ve got a really good local team who are passionate about young people. The opening day, we want everyone to know, is June 8. So that Saturday we will be open at 4pm but we’re going to start at Mesnes Park with a parade at 2pm.
“There will be lots of activities there, we’ll have a little parade through the town and come back here and have the official opening. Before that, throughout May, we’ll have lots of soft openings which are basically trial runs.
“Part of the induction for the new staff is putting together that programme so they can decided what’s going to happen in their area.”
Wigan Youth Zone will have facilities to cater for almost every single interest, from music to sports and dance to cooking.
The price of the admission is also unrivalled too with a year’s membership costing just £5 plus just 50p per visit.