Surf therapy project receives funds of £13,500

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A community surf project which helps young people improve their mental health has received £13,500 to fund a pilot scheme in Scarborough.

Surfers can often be seen along Scarborough’s coastline and events such as the Surf Festival attract thousands to North Bay; now surfing will help young people in Scarborough.

The Wave Project has been granted funding by North Yorkshire County Council to help 20 young people aged 14 and 24 to improve their mental health through surfing. The aim of the project is to enable young participants to improve their mental health, social skills and life chances by learning to surf. They will each receive support from their own ‘surf mentor’ – a volunteer surf instructor who provides emotional and practical support.

Wave Project chief executive Joe Taylor said: “This is fantastic news for young people in Scarborough will benefit from this service.

“The Wave Project has developed an evidence-based programme which is proven to improve self-esteem and wellbeing for young people.

“By overcoming the challenge of learning to surf, they will feel more confident and resilient about dealing with other challenges in their lives.

“We hope that they will also make friends with other children and be inspired by the volunteers, who provide great role models.”

Sessions will be overseen by professional surf coaches, supervised by local surf school Dexters, based at North Bay.

The funding will also enable The Wave Project to establish a ‘surf therapy’ service in North Yorkshire run by professional surf coaches and volunteer surf mentors. The project will fund the training of volunteers who wish to work with young people as surf mentors.

Chris Carter, lead professional with integrated mental health services at NYCC, said: “The Wave Project currently has no projects available on the east of England, so to get a project in Scarborough will be a bonus to the local community, offering volunteer opportunities for local residents and the wider area.”