A PROJECT teaching troubled youngsters motorbike mechanics is fundraising to help fit-out its new home.

Wheels Workshop had been based out of shipping containers on the Oakfield Campus site.

But with work soon starting on Nationwide’s 239-home Oakfield development, the project needed a new base.

Now, they’ve found one – in the form of a council-owned former Swindon College workshop on Carstairs Avenue, Park South.

But motorsports champion Rob Fox, who oversees Wheels Workshop, is hoping to fundraise £500 to help turn the building from builders’ shop to mechanics’ hangout.

The sawdust-covered floor needs to be industrially cleaned and repainted. Hot water needs to be plumbed in, security stepped up and new fire extinguishers fitted.

Rob, 46, has been in charge of Wheels Workshop for eight years. The organisation teaches youngsters the rudiments of motorcycle mechanics, getting them to rebuild broken bikes. But the teenagers are also taught how to ride safely.

A champion in Moto Gymkhana, Rob uses the unusual sport to teach the young people in his charge the control needed to weave a bike around a complicated obstacle course.

The new premises in Park South is where the teens will put the bikes together and strip them down. The bikes will be ridden elsewhere.

“They can concentrate here,” said Rob of one of the major attractions of the Carstairs Avenue site.

“It’s taking out the distractions for them to concentrate long enough.”

The young participants have visited businesses like MOT garages.

Rob said: “They respond well to being given the responsibility.

"Given some trust, so they know when they’re in a professional environment they behave better.

“School can be an overwhelming environment. They’re told, ‘you have to do this because it has to be done that way’.

“Visiting the motorcycle shop feels real.

“They can see the mechanics using maths to calculate things like the weight of a bike. They can see this is someone out in the world making a living, using things like maths, doing it for real.

"It’s something they could see themselves doing.”

For more about Wheels Workshop, visit: www.wheelsworkshop.org.

To donate, visit: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/wheels-workshop.