We're a non-profit surf school in South Shields in Tyne and Wear. We are passionate about making being active in and engaging with the ocean and coast as accessible as possible and enabling as many people as possible to experience the benefits from this. As well as offering standard lessons and hire to the public (any money made from these support our community aims) we run programmes aimed at removing barriers to getting people into the ocean and using the benefits of being active in the ocean for people’s wellbeing. There’s lots going on all the time and we pride ourselves on providing a pathway for all to access, using and benefiting from being in the ocean in whatever way that looks for an individual.
We work with schools and community groups to get them in the water and we also have a community kids surf club.
We run wellbeing courses for young people with special educational needs and social emotional and mental health needs (our impact data shows we consistently improve our participants wellbeing and parents and school staff report increased engagement and confidence and behaviours). We also have a funded wellbeing surf club for anyone who has attended a course and wants to continue surfing.
We also have a free adults wellbeing session that runs weekly from April to September.
Using our pay it forward scheme (where customers can donate towards lessons for those who can’t access out regular lessons) we provide free surf sessions for young people from deprived backgrounds working with the Children's Foundation.
We have an adaptive surf offering to enable people with disabilities to get surfing and paddle boarding. We have a board chair and other adaptive boards with handles and extra support so we have been able to provide surf sessions for people with complex needs. Check out this report from the BBC on what were getting up to https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-tyne-62607393
and this video from one of our surfers who made a video about what we do: https://youtu.be/EM-A1Is_fnY
Alongside this adaptive surf offer we work with Beach Access North East who provide beach access wheelchairs for free to people with disabilities at north east beaches. We share our surf school premises with them and we sort people out with the equipment they need when they come down.
We also have a veterans surf group called Sea Company run by veterans for veterans.
We run rockpooling, environmental education and curriculum based beach school. We work with schools to engage kids in the environment and use the environment to engage the kids - win win!
We also have our beach clean station (2 minute beach clean) and host regular beach cleans (4 this year) and offer 10% discount on our lessons if you do 20 minutes of beach cleaning.
We also provide training and employment opportunities; the majority of our staff have come from our club programmes with a few from our wellbeing courses.
We need volunteers to come in the water to support individual participants in our sessions. You will be working with our surfers giving them support and encouragement, helping them to engage with the session and get the most from it. This could be working with young people with SEN or SEMH needs or with people with disabilities who need support in the water.
Volunteers don't need to be a surfer and don't have to hold any qualifications as all sessions will be led by our qualified staff on ratios of 1-8 people in the water. But volunteers do need to be confident in the water, like being in the ocean and have a positive energetic outlook. We will sort out DBS checks for all our volunteers and provide training to be in the sessions and we can provide all the equipment needed (wetsuits etc) and volunteers can use the surf equipment whenever they like, and can pay for our volunteers travel expenses and a hot drink each session for up to £5 per session. Our previous volunteers have said how much they have enjoyed the sessions and got lots from it for themselves:
"I thought they were super fun. I felt like we had loads of help and because there were usually one mentor per each child, you always felt like help was close at hand. One of the most rewarding things I have done."
"I already enjoyed surfing, but the sessions showed me how much of a positive impact it has on people."