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Wave Project

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Summary: Dorset Combined Youth Offending Services refer young people to a national surfing charity to support with improving their mental health issues, social deprivation, family breakdown or social exclusion due to a disability, being a carer or being bullied.
Classification: Level 1
Age: 10-17
Sex: n/a
Cost: n/a




  • To support a wide range of vulnerable young people (including those from a Black and Minority Ethnic background, and those with Special Educational Needs and Learning Disabilities) to develop a pro social skill (surfing), in order to promote positive relationships and social engagement.
  • To improve the health and mood of young people by reducing anxiety, and increasing confidence, motivation and resilience.
  • To distract the young person from negative influences and engaging in anti-social behaviour and substance abuse.




The Wave Project is a national charity that teaches surfing to vulnerable young people. These comprise young people who face mental health issues; social deprivation and family breakdown; or social exclusion due to a disability, being a ‘carer’ or being bullied. It takes referrals from a wide range of organisations. Dorset Combined Youth Offending Services (DCYOS) refers young people who, were offered a range of physical activities during the referral order process, and chose surfing.

The project provides all necessary equipment; transportation to surf sites; qualified surf coaches and life guards; and volunteers. A member of DCYOS attends each session with the young person(s) under their supervision.

Young People are mentored on a one to one basis through a pro social model. Self-esteem and confidence is built along with learning new skills and following rules and boundaries.   

The course runs for two hours a week during the weekend for six weeks. On completion the young person can graduate to surf club which enables them to continue to build and consolidate established friendships and relationships.

Wave Project operates from local surf schools and has groups in Brighton, Cornwall, Isle of Wight, Dorset, North and South Devon, Scarborough, Wales and Scotland.



Implementing the Practice:

  • Young people are referred to the Wave Project through the internal referral process of DCYOS. 
  • The DCYOS staff who attend these sessions are already trained in safeguarding, epilepsy and autism and have experience working with learning disabilities.
  • DCYOS staff provide the wave project coordinator with risk assessments on each young person.




YOT: Dorset Combined Youth Offending Service
Name: Julie Mackay
Telephone: 01202 453970
E-mail: Julie.Mackay@Bournemouth.gov.uk
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