Free surfing course designed to build up confidence in anxious kids – South London News

Children struggling with poor mental health and anxiety are being invited to enrol for free in a surfing course designed to promote well-being. 

Local charity The Wave Project wants schools and front line workers to refer children to its six-week Saturday surf therapy course, which opens on September 24. 

Young people’s confidence is built-up first through paddle boarding in South London for three weeks, before they head to Brighton to learn to surf on the remaining three Saturdays. 

Places are available for young people who are receiving support for anxiety, depression, low mood or low confidence. They can be referred by a teacher, social worker, GP or psychiatrist. 

The multi award-winning charity, set up in 2010, has supported more than 5,000 children and young people by combining surfing with peer-mentoring, to help children be more confident and resilient. 

The surf therapy course is open to any child aged eight to 18 who may benefit. There is no cost to children or families for taking part. 

It is very much a South London project, with most previous youngsters taking part being from Peckham, Bermondsey and Wandsworth. The paddle boarding takes place at Beckenham Place Park lake and the minibus to Brighton leaves from Surrey Quays. 

The Wave Project’s founder and chief executive, Joe Taylor, said: “We know how much the pandemic has impacted children’s mental health, and the consequences of multiple lockdowns are only now fully emerging. 

“Schools and front line services are reporting children are more anxious, less confident and have lower levels of resilience than before. 

 “We want to make sure these emerging trends do not harden into long-term problems for children’s mental health.” 

Bookings can be made through the referral portal on the Wave Project website:  

Picture: Wikimedia Commons / ScarlettFiore

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