The Wave Project receives Sport England funding to help more young people in Devon

The Wave Project in Devon has been given £151,501 from Sport England and the #iwill Fund to help young people use sport to make a positive difference in their communities – all thanks to funding from the National Lottery.

Sport England and the #iwill Fund are creating more opportunities for 10 to 20-year-olds to get involved in social action and use sport and physical activity to benefit others in their local area. The #iwill Fund is made possible thanks to joint funding from the Big Lottery Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – to support young people to take part in meaningful social action.

This week, 12-16 November 2018, is #iwillWeek which serves as a focal point to communicate the benefits of youth social action. This year the focus is on supporting young people to use their voice to celebrate their impact in communities through their story of social action.

The Wave Project works with young people whose potential is yet to be unlocked.  Starting out as a small voluntary project in Cornwall  the project now delivers surf therapy in 13 locations across the UK helping young people to feel more confident and less anxious, through surfing.

Our evidence-based courses combine surfing with the positive energy supplied by our team of awesome volunteers, professional surf coaches and Wave Project staff. There is no pressure to succeed and through the encouraging and supportive atmosphere we help our surfers to build their self-esteem.  Many of our participants go on to become young volunteers themselves.

Wave Project CEO Joe Taylor said:  “It’s a testament to the healing power of surf therapy that so many of our young volunteers are individuals who have previously been through our surf therapy programme.  Our young volunteers offer a unique perspective to the new starters on our courses. Their continued involvement with The Wave Project, in responsible volunteer roles, ensures their confidence continues to go from strength to strength. We want to thank Sport England and the #iwill fund for this generous donation and in particular the National Lottery players for enabling this fund to support our charity.”

Sport England’s Director of Sport Phil Smith said:  “Through social action young people can help others get active and benefit themselves in lots of ways; social action can do wonders for job and career prospects, mental health and making friends.

“That’s why Sport England has pledged to support the #iwill campaign by committing £1.5 million of match-funding to the #iwill Fund and made volunteering and social action a key part of Sport England’s strategy. We’re delighted to be helping The Wave Project to enable more young people to be the catalysts for change in their neighbourhood.

“It’s one of 37 projects in which Sport England has invested in to test different approaches to encourage new audiences to volunteer and benefit their community and others through social action, sport and physical activity.”

The #iwill campaign is coordinated by the charity Step Up To Serve. Its Chief Executive, Charlotte Hill, said: “Young people across the country often start their social action journey through community sport. Sport has the potential to enable even more young people to contribute to their communities whilst developing their own skills and wellbeing.”

Over 875 organisations from across multiple sectors make up the #iwill campaign, which was launched by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2013 with cross-party support. Each November, on the anniversary of the campaign, organisations that comprise the campaign are invited to celebrate and share the progress and contribution they have made in offering and embedding youth social action.

Sport attracts many young people and can provide a springboard to social action. Just over half of young people say they prefer sport to any other volunteering pastimes. The Sport England Potentials Fund aims to unlock the potential that young people have whilst also developing the skills and experience they need for their own future.