FILM and TV star Andrew Lincoln visited Salisbury on Friday to support a new service trying to help Wiltshire teenagers turn their lives around.
Lincoln, star of hit US TV series The Walking Dead, British series Teachers and romantic comedy Love Actually, is an ambassador for children's charity Barnardo's and came to Salisbury to mark the move of Barnardo South West's Revolutions project into Wiltshire.
The charity has invested £180,000 in Revolutions - a mobile classroom and workshop contained within a pair of specially-adapted trucks.
Project workers visit schools, colleges, youth clubs and other venues to offer motor mechanics courses to 14 to 19-year-olds who are at risk of dropping out of education and provide them with individual support and important life skills including writing CVs and preparing for interviews.
Revolutions has already worked with more than 100 young people in other parts of the region and has an impressive attendance rate, despite the challenges faced by the youngsters. Almost 80 per cent are expected to complete the course, with 50 per cent continuing their studies afterwards and with other going into full-time employment.
Heather Colbeck, director of Barnardo's South West, said: “We know lasting changes won't be achieved simply by offering a new course, it's the additional wraparound support that will make the world of difference. We will offer something they never had before - the hope of a brighter future.”
Barnardo's staff offer a Level 1 course in motor mechanics and can cater for up to eight young people at a time, during the school day or at evenings and weekends.
Lincoln met the Revolutions team when they were developing the service in Gloucestershire and has followed their progress with interest. On Friday he met project staff as well as local students taking part in the scheme.
He said: “It's incredibly important that young people have access to good training and education opportunities. For some young people, offering alternative and creative learning environments, like these trucks, can make all the difference.”
The Wiltshire work is supported by the generosity of local businesses - Salisbury City Football Club provides free space for the trucks on Monday and Friday morning classes and Westover Land Rover has provided free parking over the weekends.
For more information on the service visit barnardos.org.uk/revolutions.