The founder of a St Helens childrens charity has told of his “immense pride” at the creation of their very own community centre.
Tunza’s Pride boss Ian Smith told how the creation of the Tunza Centre off Boundary Road marked the realisation of his charity’s 10-year plan - just in time for their 10th birthday.
Highlights of the social enterprise include an indoor leisure arena - complete with astorturf pitch - a cafe, bar and offices and meeting rooms.
Talented art students from St Helens College also created a striking mural for one of the walls.
Ian said: “This is a massive leap forward for our charity - it’s like going from playing non league football to the Premier League.
“We had a 10-year plan when we started out so it’s extremely satisfying to see our dream become a reality. Overall, the project is worth about £200,000.
“We plan to run weekly activity programmes and host clubs and classes for youngsters and adults alike.”
He added: “It’s been a privilege to work together with the site owner, Elm Construction, and other companies, tradesmen and volunteers.
“We plan to open three or four days a week to start with before being fully up and running in a few months. Among the first classes will be a pop dance group and children’s zumba.
“The venue will be available for private hire too. It’s licensed so would be ideal for birthday parties. We’re also seeing how other voluntary organisations can benefit from using our new facility.”
The Tunza Centre opens on January 20. To find out more search for Tunza The Lion on Facebook or follow @TunzaLion on Twitter.