Victoria Pendleton launches new surf therapy project targeting inner city children

Gold-medal winning Olympian Victoria Pendleton was among a host of stars who launched a new surf therapy project targeting inner-city children in London.

The project, called City to Sea, is being delivered by surf therapy charity The Wave Project in partnership with Laureus, Sport for Good and Olympic legacy charity Spirit of 2012.

Miss Pendleton joined Paralympic swimmer Susie Rodgers MBE and professional rugby player Nollie Waterman – all Laureus ambassadors – at the launch event in Brighton on Thursday.

Victoria Pendleton, said: “I am hugely proud of and passionate about the work Laureus Sport for Good is doing to support disadvantaged and under-served young people. Having spent time with The Wave Project in Brighton today, and seeing first-hand the calming, confidence-building nature of the surf therapy approach, I’m excited to see the progress which will be made over the next three years.

“Mental health and wellbeing is something I’m passionate about and this funding will help more young people build confidence and deal with their anxieties, which is a wonderful thing.”

Image above:  Victoria Pendleton CBE – Former Olympic track cyclist and jockey, Joe Taylor – Wave Project CEO, and Sophie Everard – Wave Project Ambassador

The new £200,000 project will reach 540 disadvantaged young people over the next three years. Around half of these will be from inner city London boroughs, and half from Cornwall.  It marks the first time surf therapy has been made available to underserved communities in Central London.

The programme will build on the Wave Project model of using referrals from support workers, teachers, doctors, counsellors and through a one-on-one approach, young people are introduced to the sport of surfing.

Young people work at their own pace to overcome challenges and develop a sense of pride in their achievements. There is no pressure to succeed, and instructors and surf mentors work to create an atmosphere of support and positivity.

The new project builds on a pilot scheme delivered by The Wave Project in 2014 in partnership with South London and Maudsley NHS Trust.

Laureus Ambassador Nolli Waterman, said: “Spending time with the young people in Brighton today really proved sport’s ability to break down barriers and instil confidence. Mental health and wellbeing is something I have spoken about in my personal sporting career, and it is inspiring to see the work Laureus-supported programmes like The Wave Project are doing in this space. From what I’ve seen today, this funding boost will truly help Laureus and The Wave Project change the lives of young people for the better.”

Image below:  Joe Taylor – Wave Project CEO, Victoria Pendleton – Former Olympic track cyclist, Sorcha – Surf Club member, Laura McManus – Local Co-ordinator