Youngsters that sign up for the six-week course were referred by education, health and social care professionals. Many of the children were in and out of foster care, or experiencing issues with their mental health; suffering from low self-esteem, depression, or self-harm.
Local surfers volunteered to work with young people, either one-on-one or in groups, and teach them to surf, helping to boost their self-confidence. After the course, young people are able to join the surf club and continue with the positive work that they have been doing.
Members of the Wave Project come from all over Dorset, some as far as thirty miles, and often come from families who are unable to support the travel to and from the coast, or where disabilities, drug or alcohol abuse or financial issues mean that access to transport for such activities is limited.
The summer program was extremely successful, the weather was glorious, and everyone involved in the project thoroughly enjoyed themselves, attributing the provision of the free bus service provided by DCT as being key to the success of the program.
Joe Taylor, Wave Project Chief Executive, said: “Dorset Community Transport plays a vital part in the delivery of our surf courses for vulnerable children in Dorset. Many of our clients don’t have access to transport and so without the support of DCT, they simply wouldn’t be able to access the courses.”
Zoe Carter, Dorset Co-ordinator, said: “The DCT drivers are always friendly. All the kids seem very enthusiastic when they get on and off the buses - so they must be doing something right! Some of the children are as young as eight, so having DCT there to help get them safely to us is great. The drivers are really helpful and really good – there are never any problems.”
Anna Whitty, CEO said: “This is a wonderful example where community transport supports the activities of other community organisations, making an impact and changing the lives of these young people. We are very proud to be associated with The Wave Project”.