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Surf’s up for young people at Aberavon beach thanks to grant

Wave Project

Young people are being treated to surfing lessons at Aberavon beach to improve their emotional and physical health, thanks to a grant from Tesco.

The Wave Project was awarded £1,000 to enable them to run extra surf therapy sessions for children and young people who have been referred to them by a variety of different agencies including child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS).

Wave Project

It received the grant from a special funding round for groups supporting young people from the Tesco Community Grants scheme (previously known as Bags of Help) which is run in conjunction with community charity Groundwork.

The first Wave Project was set up in 2010 in Cornwall by Joe Taylor, who had already seen first-hand the impact that surfing could have on mental health in his previous role working for an MP. Since then, the organisation has expanded across the UK, helping more than 5,000 young people.

Paul Killa, project co-ordinator for The Wave Project in South Wales, has a lifetime passion for surfing and joined The Wave Project after retiring from a long career in the Police.

He said: “Surf therapy is incredibly powerful for the children and young people that we support. Some participants have never even been to the beach before, and having the chance to mix with their peers while having fun in the sea and building their confidence is invaluable.

“We’ve seen young people with severe communication difficulties really blossom during our sessions, and the success of the programme is shown by the fact that many of our participants return to us as trained volunteer surf mentors to help others build their confidence too.

“Our sessions are part-funded by referrers and part-funded by funds we raise ourselves, and the Tesco grant will allow us to run a six week course for 10 young people, potentially changing their lives forever.”

Mandy Walsh, manager of Tesco’s Port Talbot Superstore said: “We’re delighted to have been able to support The Wave Project, and hope that their surf therapy sessions will continue to boost the confidence of the young people taking part.

We’re encouraging even more charities, community groups and organisations in Wales to apply for funding as we hope to see the fantastic work they provide continue long into the future.”