This year, we’re very excited to introduce Blue Friday! On Friday 20th November we’ll be donating 10% of our profits to The Wave Project, a charity that is improving the lives of children facing social and emotional challenges, through the joy of surfing. That means that if you buy anything from us in that 24-hour period, you know that 10% of the profit will be going towards a really fantastic cause. Wetsuit Outlet exists because we love watersports and we well know the happiness and calm that being out on the water brings. We’re proud to be supporting a charity that is sharing that feeling and using it to boost vulnerable young people's wellbeing.
Ten years ago, a group of 20 young people sat on the beach at Watergate Bay in Cornwall for the world’s first ‘surf therapy’ course. All these people had been diagnosed with mental disorders, such as anxiety, depression and schizophrenia, ranging from mild to severe. To watch them on the beach though, you’d have no idea.
A clinical psychologist, Dr Kathryn Lovering, evaluated the programme. The results showed that wellbeing rose amongst the group overall, with participants feeling calmer, less angry, and more connected to each other, after surfing.
From here, The Wave Project expanded from Cornwall, across the South West of England, to North Yorkshire, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and London, where they continue to support children through surfing.
Surf therapy is now a growing global movement, and evidence continues to show that getting in the sea, having a surf, and having fun with friends in the water makes a measurable difference to people’s mental health.
The Wave Project hope to continue doing this great work and keep changing lives through surfing and surf therapy. Being a community project though, they always need help – from volunteers, surfers, ambassadors, members, donors, and people raising awareness of the work they do.
The Wave Project don’t just base their impact off all the smiles on everyone’s faces, though there are a lot of them, scientific evaluation has been embedded in the Project since the very beginning. All their programmes evaluate wellbeing change from both an individual and whole-group perspective.
In the past decade, they have gathered data from over 3,000 young people in the UK, meaning they have a vast dataset measuring change across 17 measures of wellbeing, including self-esteem, resilience, confidence, social trust, positive functioning and friendships.
They use the New Economics Foundation (NEF) definition of wellbeing, which emphasises the importance of ‘personal development’ aspects over ‘life satisfaction’, and relate this to physical health. In other words, they help children to:
Surf therapy is an essential support group, and so The Wave Project have been able to continue helping children who have been affected by Covid-19 through lockdown, providing much needed respite in this difficult time. The Wave Project is continuing to expand and reach more children, with their latest pilot launching in Tynemouth. Just this month, their London branch has been shortlisted for the 2020 Southwark Business Excellence Awards in the Best Charity and Social Enterprise category.
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