Children from the Youth Justice Service in Swindon will create their own sculpture for a major art trail.

Ten children are helping to design and paint their own Swinpup, which will be one of 42 that will take their place alongside 30 Swindog sculptures when The Big Dog Art Trail goes live on July 15.

The Swinpups are being designed and painted by schools and community groups across Swindon and will be at locations including North Swindon Library, Pinetrees Community Centre, and the Wyvern Theatre.

The event will support children’s hospice charity, Julia’s House.

Youth Justice Service Swindon head Michael O’Connor 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 hometown.

“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.”

The service run by Swindon Borough Council aims to prevent young people from breaking the law and re-offending.

Coun Paul Dixon is the local authority’s cabinet member for children’s and social care.

He 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.

“I’m very proud of the work the Youth Justice Service does and I look forward to seeing the future projects they engage with.”

Prime Theatre is offering the children a bronze arts award, which is equivalent to a GCSE, at the end of the programme.

Creative arts programme lead Helen Morley said: “The award recognises that they have taken part in an art activity, they have found out about a local artist, they have reviewed something and they have then shared their art with the public.

“It has been so lovely to see the Swinpup grow from a rough set of designs on paper to something that is on the sculpture now, getting painted and looking colourful.

“It’s also been lovely getting to know the group and everyone involved and find out what they’re all bringing to the project from their individual creativity and ideas.”

Swindon artist, Sue Bardwell has helped them design the sculpture, which focuses on items that mean something to each member of the group as well as messages the children wanted to convey to the wider community.

She said: “I have been involved in community arts for about 20 years and I love the idea of this collaboration - getting young people’s ideas and translating them onto the sculpture.

“The young people have embraced it.  They have just got on with it and that is truly remarkable.

“It is one thing for experienced artists to be taking part in the trail, but for it to be open to young people, giving them the opportunity to have the work they have done on display is an amazing thing for them, Swindon and community art in general.”