YOUNG people with a record of disruptive and anti-social behaviour are being given a chance to build healthy relationships within the community.
The Driving Futures and Hampshire Police Cop Car project is a 10-week challenge which sees 11 to 16-year-olds working alongside the police, Royal Navy and teaching staff, in order to build a F24 Kit Car.
The project at HMS Sultan in Gosport is one of many projects that are being funded by the Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner’s office as part of the anti-social behaviour project.
When completed, youngsters will be able to take the car to Goodwood to compete in a day of racing against other teams on February 21.
James Colborn, 14, was among the group from Gosport. He said: ‘When I found out about the car I was quite excited as this is the first time I have ever done anything like this.
‘I have not been on a Royal Navy base before and I was a little bit nervous but they have been really nice and helpful.’
Police Community Support Officer Deana West said: ‘This is the first time that the station has done this so it’s new to us, and we thought that HMS Sultan, with its links to engineering, would be the perfect place to do it.
‘Since our initial enquiry everyone at Sultan has been so positive about the project and getting actively involved.’
The project also requires students to create a diary of the progress made throughout.
Shannon Woods, a teaching assistant at the Key Education Centre in Gosport, said: ‘Some of the children involved just can’t be in school at the moment because of various difficulties. However, bringing them along to this is getting them engaged in a project and they love it.’
Simon Hayes, Police and Crime Commissioner, said: ‘Young people who get involved are working together as a team, learning new skills, and building their confidence.
‘As a result they are distracted from becoming involved in anti-social behaviour and crime, and are building a positive future.’