Youth Justice Service children take part in Big Dog Art Trail

By Ben Carey on 2 June, 2023

Children from the Youth Justice Service will have their own ‘Swinpup’ as part of Swindon’s Big Dog Art Trail this summer.

The event has partnered with the Swindon Borough Council-run service, which aims to prevent children and young people from breaking the law.

Ten young people are taking part in designing and painting their own Swinpup, one of 42 that will feature when The Big Dog Art Trail goes live on Saturday 15th July, taking their place alongside 30 larger than life Swindog sculptures.

The art trail will be supporting local children’s hospice charity, Julia’s House, with vital funds raised going towards the lifeline of care they provide for seriously ill children and their families.

Michael O’Connor, Head of the Youth Justice Service in Swindon, feels the trail is also a fantastic opportunity for another group of vulnerable children to benefit from the arts event.

He said, “The ability to be doing something that makes a difference for other children and have an impact at a community level is huge for supporting children in their desistence from future crime.

“Our children in the criminal justice service are some of the most marginalised in the country. This is a real opportunity to put these children in Swindon on the map, so they feel part of their home town. This is a chance for them to see something that is going to have a big impact in Swindon and know that they have played a part in it.

“The reaction from the children has been fantastic. They are having the opportunity to influence and support other vulnerable children in the community and be proud of Swindon as a place they live.”

Councillor Paul Dixon, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s and Social Care, said, “The trail is a fantastic way to raise the profile of Julia’s House and Swindon as a whole, so to have these children involved in such a project is hugely positive.

“The Swinpups will be seen by hundreds, if not thousands of people around the town, which will be a huge boost to the young people involved and make them feel part of their local community.”