Wave Project: Surfing Project for Children - (2018)

Summary: Dorset Combined Youth Offending Services refer children 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.
Age: 10-17
Sex: n/a
Cost: n/a




  • To support a wide range of vulnerable children (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 children by reducing anxiety, and increasing confidence, motivation and resilience.
  • To distract the child from negative influences and engaging in anti-social behaviour and substance abuse.




The Wave Project is a national charity that teaches surfing to vulnerable children. These comprise children 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 children 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 children under their supervision.

Children 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 child 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:

  • Children 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 child.




Youth Offending Team: Dorset Combined Youth Offending Service
Name: Julie Mackay
E-mail: Julie.Mackay@Bournemouth.gov.uk