Surf therapy offered to Cornish children through council partnership

Surf therapy will be made available to anxious children across Cornwall following a new partnership agreement between Cornwall Council and The Wave Project.

The Council’s children’s services directorate, called Together for Families, has signed an agreement with the surfing charity to provide ‘surf therapy’ services for children across all departments.

The agreement means that professionals working with the county’s most vulnerable children can make a referral directly to the charity.

It includes professionals working with disabled children, family support workers, looked after children, child social workers, and school nurses.

The council will fund these places if the charity does not have its own funds available through other sources, such as grants and donations, making the system sustainable.

The approach fits with the NHS ‘social prescribing agenda, which encourages health professionals to prescribe activity such as walking or cycling to improve health.

Recently the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, endorsed ‘cycling on prescription’ as a way to tackle obesity.

Wave Project founder Joe Taylor said that surf therapy has been established as a mental health intervention for over 10 years, but this is the first time that a major local authority has backed it across its entire children’s services directorate.

He said: “We are grateful that Cornwall Council for having the vision to see how an activity like surfing can have positive mental health benefits on vulnerable children.

“Our hope is that this partnership will mean that surfing as therapy will be available to all children who need it.”

In 2019, the Wave Project became the first charity to pioneer Surfing on Prescription through GPs surgeries. This agreement means that surf therapy will be available free of charge to any child in the county who requires it.