A CHARITY that helps children cope with issues like drug addicted parents, poverty and bullying, is preparing for a series of major fundraisers next year.

Adventure Youth Trust, formed in 1992 by Arctic and Antarctic expedition veterans David Hempleman-Adams and Maj Richard Mitchell, has provided life-changing assistance to nearly 4,000 vulnerable youngsters aged between 11 and 16.

This year it has supported 26 in Swindon.

Director of fundraising, Louise Balaam, 40, said: “We can’t change their circumstances, but we can try to help and assist them with different changes and transition. What we can do this through our programme is to build their resilience and confidence to face these unfortunately.”

“There’s very little out there for this age group and we’re the only organisation that works them for a number of years.

“We have been able to reach young people before they make important life choices.”

Harry Copcutt, 15, is one who has benefitted over the past three years. “When I first joined I thought it would be a great experience,” he said.

“I felt nervous because it was a new change but it would be great to meet new people and I wanted to be apart of it all.

“They were all really fun and they help put you out of your comfort zone but it helped me to become who I am today.

“I got into trouble at school, I was always messing around, I think I got in with the wrong crowd and that made me say things that would annoy people and over step the line. The camp completely changed me it has made me a different person.”

The programme of personal development takes youngsters through outdoor activities, workshops, and residential courses where they can try bushcraft, canoeing and climbing.

Children were taken to Madagascar over the summer and to camps in the Forest of Dean, Brecon Beacons and Weymouth.

It costs £3,600 a year to take a child through the course which is why the charity is staging fundraisers like the 10 Peaks Challenge and putting up competitors for the Taylor Wimpey Challenge.

It is also planning to send a team of 12 on an expedition to Baffin Island in the Arctic Circle, where they will attempt a 140-mile ski traverse of the Akshauk Pass in temperatures as low as -25c

People who want to support the trust, based in Swindon, can find out more and make donations through its website youthadventuretrust.org.uk