TEENAGERS from a homeless canoe club in Abingdon have enjoyed a 'morale boosting' trip to the Slovenian Alps.

Kingfisher Canoe Club, and its youth division Pathfinders, packed up and left its Wilsham Road home of 25 years in October. Since then the club, which has around 140 members aged from 11 to 70, has been without a permanent base with organisers initially forced to run sessions at Rye Meadow from the back of a van.

A group of 14 members, aged between 14 and 17, flew into Ljubljana on July 26 with their kayaks to paddle the whitewater rivers Soca and Koritnica in the Julian Alps.

The group camped at the small village of Trnovo Ob Soci for six days and paddled a different section of the river each day.

Youth development officer David Surman, who joined the teenagers, said the trip was more important than usual, explaining: "The club have run trips to the Slovenian and French Alps before but this year`s trip was particularly important as a morale booster in view of the difficulties the club has been having."

The club had identified a ‘perfect’ new base in the northern corner of Rye Meadow, but its attempt to move there collapsed last year.

Planning permission for the Rye Meadow site, which is owned by South Oxfordshire District Council but administered by Vale of White Horse District Council, was approved in October 2016.

But in April last year the club was told that it would no longer be possible, legally, for the authority to provide a lease.

A community campaign, including a petition signed by 1,300 presented to Vale of White Horse District Council in December, called on the authority to rent the club the land needed for a new site.

Mr Surman said despite 'tremendous support' from the community there had been 'a very real chance' the club could fold earlier in the year when the summer outdoor season began in April and the club was still without a base.

He said: "Due to great support and assistance from the lock keeper at Abingdon and the local farmer the club has been able to establish a temporary store for this season in trailers at the lock.

"We are not out of the wood yet as we are still battling to get a permanent home which will allow long term survival."