Surf Snowdonia sponsors community mental health project

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Surf Culture

The Wave Project: aims to improve mental health, self-esteem & wellbeing

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 14 April, 2016 – A community surf project that helps young people improve their mental health has teamed up with to help vulnerable young people in North Wales. Funding for the project has come from London-based fundraising group Raise Your Hands, which supports children’s charities.

They are funding a pilot scheme to enable 12 disadvantaged young people from North Wales to take part in a six week surfing course at the world-first inland surf lagoon free of charge. The project will start on 15 May and will last for six weeks.

The aim of the project is to enable participants to improve their mental health, social skills and life chances by learning to surf with local volunteers. Each participant will receive support from their own ‘surf mentor’ – a volunteer surf instructor who provides emotional as well as practical support.

Sessions will be overseen by professional surf coaches at Surf Snowdonia, supervised by Welsh surf champion Jo Dennison. The pilot scheme will also enable The Wave Project to put down the foundation for a new surf club for isolated young people in partnership with Surf Snowdonia.

The project will also fund the training and development of volunteers who wish to work with young people as surf mentors. The Wave Project’s North Wales coordinator Mel Cassells said: “This is fantastic news for young people in North Wales who will benefit from this service.

“Surf Snowdonia is a fantastic facility for people in this area to learn to surf, and we hope that a partnership with The Wave Project will open up opportunities for disadvantaged youngsters. “We’re really excited to be working with Jo and her team of awesome instructors to help change young lives through surfing.”

The Wave Project has developed an award-winning, evidence-based programme which is proven to improve self-esteem and wellbeing for young people. Last year the charity was shortlisted as Sport England’s Community Sports Project of the Year, and more recently was named the Lottery People’s Project in Scotland.

Mel added: “We hope that they will also make friends with other children and be inspired by the volunteers, who provide great role models. “By overcoming the challenge of learning to surf, they will feel more confident and resilient about dealing with other challenges in their lives.”

Jo Dennison, head of the Surf Snowdonia Surf Academy said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with The Wave Project to deliver this hugely valuable scheme. “It’s a potentially life-changing opportunity for vulnerable young people in North Wales who might not otherwise have had the opportunity or the confidence to engage in a sport like surfing.

“We are very much looking forward to welcoming our first course participants and sharing our passion for surfing with them.”

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