Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP visits The Wave Project to see what surf therapy is all about

We had a very special guest at our surf therapy session in Newquay yesterday – none other than Heath Secretary Matt Hancock!  As a big advocate of social prescribing, Matt joined in the session to learn more about how surf therapy helps improve children and young people’s mental health.

During the session, the Secretary of State enjoyed the opportunity to participate hands-on in the water alongside 12 children who regularly attend our sessions, and learn more about the benefits of surf therapy for young people’s mental wellbeing. He took part in the session and saw how surfing combing with mentoring and support from volunteers helped children to feel more confident, less anxious and more resilient.

The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care said:

“The Wave Project provides a critical service to young people across the UK to improve their emotional and physical wellbeing, and this has particularly been the case during the difficult last few months of the coronavirus pandemic. Social prescribing services such as The Wave Project play a hugely important role in the NHS’ mental health services provision, and will be crucial to the NHS Long Term Plan to support mental health services.”

Joe Taylor, Founder & CEO, The Wave Project added:

“It was a huge honour to welcome the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to experience the benefits of surf therapy first-hand. We’re proud to be the first charity to offer surfing on prescription via the NHS, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with NHS trusts going forward as part of the broader focus on social prescribing services.”

The Wave Project is the UK’s first surf therapy charity. Initially funded by the NHS as a pilot project in 2010, The Wave Project aims to improve the wellbeing and confidence of young people who face mental health issues or social exclusion – offering a dedicated six-week course of one-to-one surfing support followed by the opportunity to join a social club to progress surfing and train to become volunteer helpers and mentors.

The visit from Secretary of State comes ahead of the first European International Surf Therapy Organization (ISTO) to be held in Cornwall this summer, which we will be hosting.

Surf therapy charities and NGOs from across the world will gather at Watergate Bay in Cornwall for the 4-day annual conference between the 5th and 8th July.

The conference will include a day of free surfing lessons for people with disabilities, followed by three days of talks, training, and seminars at the Bedruthan Steps Hotel.