New funding for Wave Project Cymru to promote mental health for young people

Wave Project Cymru has received £142,000 in funding for a ‘surf therapy’ project to help young people in South Wales.

The funding has been granted by the Big Lottery Fund’s People and Places programme to support 300 young people over the next 3 years. It will mean young people living anywhere between Newport and Swansea will benefit from therapeutic surfing courses free of charge.

The aim of the courses is to enable participants to improve their mental health, social skills and life chances by learning to surf.

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, supervised by Welsh National Surf Team coach Ingemar Cressey.

The project will also fund the training and development of volunteers who wish to work with young people as surf mentors.

Wave Project chief executive Joe Taylor said: “This is fantastic news for young people in South Wales who will benefit from these projects. The Wave Project has developed an evidence-based programme which is proven to improve self esteem and wellbeing for young people. By overcome the challenge of learning to surf, they will feel more confident and resilient about dealing with other challenges in their lives. We hope that they will also make friends with other children and be inspired by the volunteers, who provide great role models.”

Highlighting the importance of the People and Places programme, Rona Aldrich, Wales Committee Member for the Big Lottery Fund, said: “Programmes like People and Places are making a difference to the lives of so many people in communities across Wales. It delivers on our promise to use National Lottery funding to regenerate and revitalise communities, tackle disadvantage head on and leave a lasting legacy.”

Wave Project Cymru has already been piloted in South Wales at beaches in Porthcawl and Abervaon, and has already proved successful in transforming the lives of vulnerable young people.

A pilot scheme, funded by the Big Lottery Fund in Wales, set up last year helped 20 young people learn to surf – many of whom had struggled to engage in any other activities before.

After the course, participants said they felt calmer, more motivated and more positive about the future. More than half went on to join local surf clubs or engage in other activities.

Find out more about Wave Project Cymru @