A TEAM of students with autism and mental health challenges are preparing to embark on a testing challenge with a teacher to raise money for a schools initiative.

Students from schools across the county are set to climb Mount Snowdon on Sunday, August 1 in aid of the Multi-Schools Council.

The 22 pupils and parents will join director Kierran Pearce, who founded the organisation, as they scale the highest mountain in Wales.

Mr Pearce, who is also a teacher at Market Field School, in Elmstead Market, hopes the mammoth mission will raise awareness of the council.

He added: “The idea actually came from one of our young ambassadors, Rosie Newman, because she felt it would be a good challenge for us all to do together.

“Many of the group who are climbing have a learning difference themselves, from autism to mental health challenges, so there is extra motivation to complete it.

Maldon and Burnham Standard:

“Our youngest climber is nine, but there are also some parents taking part who are just over the 50 mark.

“We are being joined and supported by people who have climbed the route many times before and we also plan to make a film as we go up and reach the top.”

The Multi-Schools Council was founded eight years ago and now comprises more than 300 educational institutions from across Essex.

The community company was launched with a view of giving pupils more of a voice while also being able to tackle any issues or concerns they raise through talks and events.

The project also serves to break down negative perceptions towards children with special educational needs and mental health difficulties.

Kierran has now launched a fundraiser in support of the mountain climb, which is being sponsored by Palmers and Palmers, in Colchester.

“Awareness of our differences is so needed and many children and parents tell us about their awful experiences because people simply don’t understand,” he added.

“The money raised will help our children to address these issues, as well as working with schools we will also be working with communities.

“We want to raise as much money as possible so we can really make a difference.”

Donate at gofund.me/7b5f2b51.