Surf's Up!By Stephanie White -
The Wave Project landed on UK shores in 2010 and since then, it has changed the lives of over 200 young people with varying degrees of physical and mental disabilities. Many teenagers up and down the country have donned their wetsuits and taken to the sea as part of this campaign which is making waves up and down our coastlines.
Many of the students are initially enrolled in fully funded courses having been referred by the NHS, social services, mental health services, or other professionals within their support network. However, after catching the surfing bug, many clients have gone on to sign up to private sessions and have even become volunteers for the project.
From the first lesson, the teenagers are encouraged to succeed at their own pace, celebrating individual milestones whilst developing their sense of self-confidence. The sessions help the youngsters to overcome their anxieties and set personal goals.
After a triumphant pilot project hosted by The Wave Project six years ago, which proved the immense benefits of engaging with the sport on the youngsters’ emotional and physical wellbeing, the project has gone from strength to strength. Beaches across the country now proudly host The Wave Project. It works with local clubs, instructors and volunteers to ensure that as many people as possible have the chance to jump on the bandwagon - or on board - so to speak!
The alumni of the surfing courses have the chance to join the Wave Project Surf Club, which is subsidised by BBC Children in Need. This guarantees that friends of The Wave Project can continue to enjoy the sport, attend fundraising events and be part of the nationwide community.
The Wave Project is always looking for volunteers and provides training in mental health awareness to those wanting to get involved. With this in mind, there is the chance to sign up to volunteer at the upcoming taster weekend to get a feel for what the Wave Project is all about. And, who knows, you could even be tempted to try it out for yourself!
With only a week to go until the Summer Surf Challenge which takes place on the 16th and 17th of July at Watergate Bay in Cornwall hosted by the Wave Project, it’s a great way to get involved. A weekend of free surfing for the novice or the expert lies in wait on the sunny shores of Cornwall. This free taster session is an opportunity to try out the sport whilst enjoying making friends and most importantly, having fun!
There'll even be some pro surfers and former champions volunteering at the event, including Hannah Harding, Tom Butler, Lucie Donlan and Russell Winter. Plus, with plenty of beach entertainment lined up, including live music and games - it’s guaranteed to be an epic weekend! We'll see you there.
Don’t forget to stay tuned for the second instalment of this article when I’ll be exploring the wonderful world of water sports in greater detail.
To find out more about the Wave Project and for more information on this weekend's Summer Surf Challenge, take a look at their website.
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