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Bravo! Students revamp van for Mexican street food initiative

Published on 09/05/17

A group of aspiring mechanics from Orchard School have proudly gifted a van to a local community project after months spent revamping and repairing the vehicle. 

The five boys - Jamie, Aaron, Baimar, Mark and Roger - have been part of the Wheels Project's Community Vehicle Programme, where community groups that are unable to afford a vehicle, apply to the project for help. 

After being provided with a list of possible not-for-profit community projects to support, the group chose Bearritos - a Mexican street food bus stationed at the Bearpit in Bristol's city centre. 

The group undertook a basic introduction to motor vehicle repair at the start of the academic year. They then visited Bearritos in term three where they were invited to cook breakfast with the owners and hear about the organisation and vehicle needs. 

Alongside the support of the Wheels Project, the boys acquired a white van from Bristol Water. They then had term four to bring the vehicle up to MOT standard.

The students gifted the van to Bearritos on 6th April at the Wheels Project in Brislington. 

As part of their involvement with the Wheels Project, the boys have also been participating in the British Schools Karting Championships. They managed to reach the regional final on 30th May, but unfortunately missed out on qualifying for the UK national final on 1st July. 

Simon Green, co-owner of Bearritos, said: "The Wheels project came to visit us and we gave a short presentation on the top deck of the bus, followed by a brief cooking lesson where two volunteers became chef and waiter and they ably made quesadillas for the whole group. Some were brave enough to try our lethal Scotch Bonnet salsa!

"We then visited Wheels and saw the young people in their environment. It was clear that they were really engaged in their work, applying themselves fully in order to complete the van renovations in good time. Most importantly it seemed that they were really enjoying themselves, under the supervision of Jerry and Jerry. 

"The Wheels project has helped us to achieve some of our goals and for the young people from Orchard School to achieve theirs. It offers invaluable work experience and helps young people to explore alternative pathways to success.

"All of the young people we met had so obviously benefited from working with wheels. They didn't always find school easy but had found friendship and satisfaction in working with such a remarkable project. Bearpit Bristol is proud to have worked with Wheels and to have met such committed and friendly‚Äč young people; they have been a credit to Orchard school and have contributed something really useful to the wider community."