When Simon Rée struck up a conversation with the Coventry Transport Museum his luck was in, they donated a car to the Bardsley Youth Project.
Bardsley Youth Project were awarded £5,000 from the Jumping Through Hoops Youth Fund to run ‘The Car Project’.
The group allows young adults aged 16 – 24 who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) to restore motor vehicles, these are then sold so new cars and tools can be purchased providing a sustainable business model.
Simon, Youth & Homeless Hub Worker, said:
“The whole car project is kind of my baby, the mini (group’s first car) came from a conversation about anti-social behaviour I was having with the Transport Museum.”
Some of the young people involved have had troubled lives, have learning disabilities or mental health issues but Simon looks beyond that:
“Their background doesn’t make a damn bit of difference. What makes a difference is the fact that a lot of them haven’t had the person to look past their background.
“Treat them like the adults, and the students they are and that’s all that matters. They’re humans, they’re adults and they’re all perfectly capable and if you treat them like that, you’ll get the results.”
One participant, Katie* has been attending the sessions since January:
“It’s good it gives us our freedom, we’re not told what to do but if we are struggling, we can ask for help.
“Having the opportunities to work on cars is good, it keeps me busy and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I used to go ‘boy-racing’, not that that was a good thing, and I’ve also done mechanics when I was in care. I probably know more about cars than some of the lads here!”
There’s a positive working relationship between Simon and the participants and it’s clear that they enjoy the responsibility and freedom within the group:
“I’m 24, I’m an adult. Here I’m given the responsibility to be an adult, where I’m from, they treat me like a kid. I respect Simon.”
Katie* is hoping that this taster could open up some doors in the future:
“Normal people in the street wouldn’t hear about this, it’s just the fact that we’re in different circumstances that we’ve heard about it.
“I’d love to be able to go into mechanics but, stereo-typically, I got pushed out of it in the past. So, this to me is something I’ve always wanted to do, now I’m getting that opportunity.”
To find out more about Bardsley Youth Project and their work click here.
To find out how you could work with the Foundation to do more locally, click here.