The UK was in the grip of the pandemic as we entered 2021, with a national lockdown impacting on families across the country. The impact on children’s mental health was already starting to emerge, with spikes in reported symptoms of anxiety and depression among children from all ages and demographics.
The Wave Project saw the effect of this first hand with a big increase in referrals at the beginning of the year. It quickly became clear that we were at the front line of a national emergency, being one of the few children’s services that was legally allowed to deliver during lockdowns. Our Wellbeing Catch-Up Sessions, delivered on the beach, benefited from an exemption in government lockdown regulations, and the Trustees recognised that we would have to do everything possible to reach as many children as we could. With support from the Board and in consultation with the staff team, I set new targets for reaching more children through our Surf Therapy, Beach School and Wellbeing Catch-up services in 2021. As ever, our amazing staff and volunteers rose to the challenge, and during the course of 2021, we more than doubled the number of young people we supported, reaching over 2,000 in total.