The project on the Isle of Wight began with a pilot scheme in 2015. The success of the trial led to us securing NHS funding to expand the project to employ a coordinator. Since then, the project has grown to run our fully funded surf-therapy courses for 60 new Island children each year, and now has a busy and active surf-club. Funding is a challenge for all charities, but thanks to the generosity of local businesses and funders such as WightAid, we have been able to reach over 250 local children to date.
We also have become experts in barbecuing, basting and selling (and eating!) sweetcorn at the IOW Garlic Festival which has been a fantastic and fun fundraiser involving surf coaches, volunteers and surf club children alike. 2018 so far has seen more courses, new and old volunteers, the arrival of wetsuits and adapted equipment (thanks to a grant from Island Roads), 6 volunteers fully trained as beach life-guards (thanks to a grant from East Wight Landscape Partnership), a visit from Sir Ben Ainsley, fund-raising aplenty (more sweetcorn!), lots of surf-club sessions (thanks to donations from local businesses such as Church Street Motorcycles), and many more smiles and high fives!