Olympic medalists Victoria Pendleton and Michael Jamieson visit The Wave Project

Laureus Ambassadors Victoria Pendleton and Michael Jamieson spent time surfing with young people from Wave Project surf therapy programme this weekend in Newquay.  The cycling and swimming stars have both spoken about their own mental health challenges and are advocates for using sport to address issues. ‘When you combine sport with the mentoring and mental health support these young people receive, you can really transform lives for the better. That’s what Laureus is all about’ – says Victoria Pendleton

Laureus Ambassadors and British Olympic stars Victoria Pendleton and Michael Jamieson have underlined the powerful role sport can play in supporting young people with their own mental health and wellbeing, following a visit to the Laureus-supported Wave Project surf programme in Newquay.

Victoria and Michael, who both reached the pinnacle of their careers at the London 2012 Olympic Games, are both advocates for the role sport can play in improving mental health among children and young people. Both Victoria and Michael have also been outspoken about their own mental health challenges and have worked with Laureus to help raise awareness for the challenges young people face, promoting the role sport can play in enhancing mental wellbeing.

The Wave Project is a ‘surf therapy’ programme that uses the sport to improve the lives of young people suffering from mental health issues. Supporting young people with mental health disorders ranging from mild to severe, the programme aims to build confidence and reduce anxiety through the power of surfing. The programme is the world’s first ‘surf therapy’ course funded by a government health service as the NHS funded a pilot scheme back in 2010. Today, young people with mental health issues are directly referred to the programme from GPs and other external agencies.

Laureus Ambassador Victoria Pendleton, said: “It’s an honour for me to be in Newquay today in my role as a Laureus Ambassador, supporting the incredible work The Wave Project are doing to improve the lives of young people through surfing. Sport has an incredible power to unite people towards a common purpose and what myself and Michael experienced today was a clear example of that.

“Mental health and wellbeing is an issue close to my heart and it is so important in today’s world, I’m proud that Laureus are supporting surf therapy programmes like this one. I’ve been lucky enough to spend time learning to surf in the past year and it has been so helpful for me in my own life. When you combine sport with the mentoring and mental health support these young people receive, you can really transform lives for the better. That’s what Laureus is all about.”