A NIGHTCLUB for youngsters under 16 is to open in Newton Aycliffe.

The Meltdown will give young people between 11 and 16 somewhere to go for socialising and entertainment in the evenings.

The club, in Newton Aycliffe Leisure Centre, will play the latest music and offer a non-alcoholic bar.

The idea for the club, supported by Sedgefield Borough Council, came from part-time sports instructor Neil Lythe and his colleagues Shaun Whittaker and Terry Anderson.

Mr Lythe said: "We put our heads together and asked ourselves what we wanted to see when we were that age.

"I came up with the idea of a disco, but run along the lines of a proper nightclub.

"We'll be having a live DJ and somewhere for them to socialise.

"We wanted to put something on for the youngsters and hope this is something they can enjoy and take ownership of.

"I've been talking to a lot of young people who come into the leisure centre and they are totally up for it. They keep asking me when it is going to start."

Councillor Bob Fleming said he hoped the club would complement the drop-in centre in the building.

He said: "My initial reaction is that this is an interesting development for the younger people of the town, and if this is what they are looking for I would support it.

"It is going to be attractive for them and, providing it won't cause a disturbance to other users, it would seem to be a going concern."

The Meltdown will be launched on Saturday, November 30, and will be open from 7pm to 9.30pm.

Tickets are on sale at the leisure centre reception. Launch night includes a free "glo stick" and the first drink.

A Christmas special will follow on Saturday, December 21, and those at the launch night will get first refusal on tickets.

The Meltdown will continue in the New Year once a month on Friday nights. Further details are available on the Internet at www.sedgefield.gov.uk/the meltdown