The Wave Project heads into the North East

An innovative project that uses surfing to help children overcome mental health challenges is set to come to Tynemouth thanks to grant from the National Lottery Community Fund.

The Wave Project is an award-winning charity that has developed an evidence-based ‘surf therapy’ programme, that helps young people feel more confident and emotionally resilient.

It combines surfing with peer-mentoring and is proven to help isolated young people become more sociable and feel more positive about themselves.

Now this programme will be available free of charge to 20  young people aged 8 to 18 in the North East thanks to a funding boost from the Lottery’s Awards for All scheme.

Wave Project founder Joe Taylor said; “It’s fantastic news that we’ll be able to establish surf therapy in the North East, with Tynemouth being the perfect location. We can’t wait to get in the North Sea and share the stoke of this awesome sport, working with more young people who need our support.”

Participants will be referred by local services such as schools or mental health services.

Project Coordinator for Tynemouth, Mel Thomas says “I am delighted that we have secured funding to deliver this worthwhile surf therapy here in the North East. It’s a great opportunity for young people, and mental health interventions is something which has been lacking in this area. I look forward to working with local volunteers and the community to make sure this pilot is a success.”

The Wave Project is a registered charity that has been providing surf therapy around the UK for 10 years. The pilot in Tynemouth aims to start in Spring 2020, supported by local volunteers and businesses.

The Wave Project charity began life on the beaches of Cornwall ten years ago working with young people who were at risk of isolation.

The process of learning to surf proved a great leveller for young people from all walks of life, building young people’s confidence, self esteem and resilience through inclusion and positive reinforcement.

Since 2010 the charity has grown into all corners of the UK working with over 5,000 young people. In 2018 it won a national award at the British Sports Awards for using Sport for Social Change.