A young Mangawhai couple are embarking on 18 months of fundraising for a childrens' park upgrade after two of their close friends committed suicide.

Emma Kent and Corey Radford are organising a community event every month for the Mangawhai Activity Zone upgrade. The park needs another $800,000.

For their fundraising grand finale they will embark on the 20,000km Mongol Rally in a beat-up junkyard car from London to Russia in July 2018.

Corey Radford and Emma Kent on previous travels in Utah. Photo / Supplied
Corey Radford and Emma Kent on previous travels in Utah. Photo / Supplied

Kent, 21, said one of Radford's close friends committed suicide two years ago, and one of hers two months ago. They wanted to do something for their small community to stop that from happening again.

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"Both of them were people everyone wanted to be. There was no answer. There's never going to be an answer.

"It goes to show, you really don't know what people are going through.

"With our friends' recent death we wanted to take our passion for travel and do something that also changed our community."

Emma Kent and Corey Radford want to create opportunities for youth in Mangawhai. Photo / Supplied
Emma Kent and Corey Radford want to create opportunities for youth in Mangawhai. Photo / Supplied

Kent, 21, said the park upgrade - which included completing the skate park, outdoor fitness area, three BMX bike tracks, a sound shell for outdoor events and finishing the cricket and soccer field - would give kids a way to grow their hobbies and meet other youth.

"It goes back to the core of well being and surrounding yourself with good people in the community.

"We need this more than anything."

They're planning to do a school disco, school mufti day, skating competition, fun run, bake off and pub quiz night so that there's something everyone would want to be involved with.

Kent said they hope to have the first event before the end of May.

Next year the couple will travel to London in June to pick up their $300 1L engine hunk-of-junk. Then over eight weeks they'll traverse the Mongol Rally. It'll see them thunder through the mountains, desert and steppe of Europe, Turkey, Kazakhstan and Mongolia.

Radford is conveniently mechanically minded and he is a builder, Kent a caregiver. The pair have already put themselves to the test with long road trips around the United States and Southeast Asia.

"We just love driving. You get to see so much when you put yourself out there.

"You have the smallest, cheapest car you can find. Just to make it a bit more fun. When things go wrong you have to interact with the locals."

Kent estimated the trip would set them back up to $15,000. They intended to pay for most of it themselves but have also set up a Givealittle page to help.

Or donations for the park can be made here, use the code MONGOL.

Where to find help:

• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youthline: 0800 376 633
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• Canterbury Support Line: 0800 777 846
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.