Work has started on a £250,000 youth social and entertainment centre in Melton ahead of the scheduled opening, which is hoped to be in the second half of next month.
The open plan layout of the ground floor at Phoenix House in Nottingham Road is being transformed into a facility to be known as The Venue.
A bar has been built for soft drinks, a stage constructed from recycled tables and plywood and various partition walls are also going in.
The club will be members-only with a small fee to pay for youngsters aged 13 to 17 from the town and surrounding villages.
Fraser Guy (24), the project manager for the scheme, said there had been a buzz about the project since the Melton Times broke the story that it was happening back in March.
He said: “I am very excited to be involved with the centre - I took on the role because it is something fresh. It’s quite ground-breaking and it is something which could be copied elsewhere in the country.
“A lot of young people just hang around McDonald’s or on the streets but this will give them a safe space where they can socialise and have fun.”
Melton Learning Hub, which organises practical courses for young people who are disengaged from learning, is helping co-ordinate the scheme with help from other agencies such as Melton Council and Melton Aurora Rotary Club.
Members will be able to relax in a bar serving food and non-alcoholic cocktails, they can play indoor games such as pool and dominoes, surf the internet on free wifi or just chat with their friends.
Regular live music will be performed, arts and crafts sessions are planned and young people will also be able to study topics such as substance and alcohol misuse, sexual health awareness, as well as learn life skills such as cooking.
Fraser said: “A lot of youth schemes get wrapped up in the traditional idea of youth clubs as somewhere to play a game of pool and do a bit of a sport but this project is much more than that.
“I asked the guys to gut the place and we began a month ago on the work. In part of the centre we’re using some furniture donated by Oakham Police Station because they are having a refurb. It’s all slowly taking shape and we can’t wait to open.”
An open day and evening is planned to launch the centre and Fraser plans to contact schools and other youth groups and talk to young people around the town to explain what will be on offer.
Funding is in place for three years, including major investment via a National Lottery grant, Melton Council and the Pera Foundation, and it is hoped the success of the venture will enable it to become financial sustainable for years to come.