NATIONWIDE rode to the rescue of a Swindon scheme that helps fix troubled youngsters with a set of wheels.

But it was only after contractors working for the building society dug up the Wheels Workshop’s old training ground by the Oakfield Project.

Set up by motorcycling champion Rob Fox, Wheels Workshop works with youngsters at the Walcot institution for children you have been excluded from mainstream education. The pupils build motorcycles and, as a reward, get to race them around a course marked by cones - in a sport known as moto gymkhana.

Now, Nationwide has offered Rob the use of a car park at the corporation’s Pipers Way headquarters to run the fun rides.

Last weekend, the 15-year-old boy could be seen speeding around the track – marked out by small colourful cones.

Rob, a UK Moto Gymkhana champion, said: “This lad has been attending the Wheels Workshop and he’s done really well on the mechanical side.

“His attendance has been excellent, his behaviour’s been fantastic and he’s been great to work with. He’d earned a moto gymkhana session – but we couldn’t do it.”

Rob used a disused car park adjacent to the Oakfield Project to run the reward rides. But, last month, contractors working for Nationwide dug a trench across the car park as part of survey work ahead of almost 250 homes being built on the former school site.

The motorcyclist had appealed to Swindon businesses to give over part of their car parks to help him run the rides.

“You need that reward,” Rob said of the rides. “It’s not just about building the bikes. They’ve got to use the bikes correctly. It’s really good that they can ride the bikes they’ve been building.”

And it is Nationwide that has ridden to the rescue – at least for the moment.

Nick Spittal, Nationwide’s senior commercial manager, said: “We are delighted we’ve been able to support the great work of Wheels Workshop by providing an alternative site for their activities over the next few months.”

Rob says he’s still looking for a permanent home for his project, adding of Nationwide’s generosity: “It doesn’t solve the problem 100 per cent but it’s important for this lad.”

Last month, he appealed to businesses to loan him part of their car parks for a short period every week: “There are some big ‘ghost’ car parks in Swindon.

“I appreciate the fact that people don’t want to take a risk and let people on their land, but the kids love it and get a lot from it. They get quality training."