The “youth centre of dreams” is all ready to welcome Croydon’s young people in the coming weeks.

With a climbing wall, state of the art gym, recording studio and hair salon, the new Legacy Youth Zone will have something for young people of all ages.

And youngsters have been involved in designing the £6.5 million new youth centre from the start.

After years of planning and building work the centre is good to go and will officially open on September 7.

But before that, young people who have already signed up can attend free ‘house-warming parties’ from August 12-30.

The Young People’s Development Group has had a say in the design and make up of Legacy – from the activities on offer to the slogans on the wall. They have even been involved in the recruitment of new youth workers.

Kayla Pitter-Aryeetey has been in the group for a year-and-a-half and the 17-year-old plans to work with the juniors when the centre is fully up and running.

The St Philomena’s sixth-former said: “It is so exciting to have something in the community that will provide opportunities for so many people.

“I think it gives young people somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to.”

She added that her favourite part of the new centre is the gym.

By paying a £5 membership fee and 50p a visit, young people will have the chance to make full use of the facilities as well as the 20 activities a night on offer.

It will be open every night after school and at the weekends for children aged eight to 19, and up to 25 for those with disabilities.

There is a sensory room for young people with disabilities or those that just want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the main centre.

And there will be specialist staff for youngsters with specialist needs as well as an inclusive session every Sunday afternoon where young people can come with their parents or carers.

In just six months the new £6.5 million centre has recruited 70 members of staff.

And each night there will be about 20 youth workers on site as well as a group of volunteers.

Jerome Hughes is head of youth work and says it is his dream job.

The 28-year-old who is born and bred in Croydon, said: “To grow up around here and see something like this I know how much it is going to be a game changer.

“It is amazing to see this investment in our young people. I wish I had something like this when I was younger.

“I’ve come from a broken home and I’ve always wanted to make sure young people can have positive relationships with adults.

“One thing I am passionate about is family and this will be like having a home from home.

“I can’t wait to get started, I can’t wait to have this building full of kids.”

As well as a place for children to go and have fun there are areas for mentoring and employability workshops.

There is a health and wellbeing area in the form of a salon and barbershop – the idea being that it is a good way to talk about feelings and potential issues in a relaxed setting.

A cafe sits in the heart of the downstairs ‘rec’ area, which also features a pool, table tennis and computer games.