According to the NHS, 1 in 6 children had a diagnosed mental health issue in July 2020 compared to 1 in 9 in 2017. Issues including anxiety, loneliness, bullying and isolation have been compounded by the pandemic resulting in a mental health crisis amongst our young people.
The Wave Project is a charity that works closely with volunteers from the local community to offer surf-therapy to young people struggling with their mental, physical or emotional wellbeing. The project on the Isle of Wight began with a pilot scheme in 2015 and since then has grown significantly.
Utilising the Island’s outstanding natural beauty as a backdrop for evidence-based therapy, in 2021 the charity supported over 200 of the Island’s young people. Data shows that young people come away from their 6-week course at The Wave Project with more resilience and feeling more confident, positive and better able to make friends.
A film created by Tony Steyger of People Media Productions looks at the work of The Wave Project.
Abbie James, IOW Wave Project Coordinator, says:
“Here on the Isle of Wight, we have worked with over 400 children and 80 volunteer surfmentors – some of whom started as participants themselves. It’s really positive that the High
Sheriff is committed to shining a light on the issues of mental-health on the Island and we were delighted when he commissioned the film showing the journey of a few of our young volunteers. The film will help us raise awareness of our charity and further funding to enable us to support as many young people as we can each year.”
James Attrill, High Sheriff of the Isle of Wight, adds:
“Tackling the mental health crisis amongst young people is an absolute priority. I was deeply impressed with how the Wave Project is using the natural environment to improve mental health. The Island’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, who helped fund this film, provides a huge opportunity for us all to improve our well-being using nature. This film, along with two others we have commissioned, are available for all schools, youth groups, volunteers groups and charities to help promote this important message.”
To donate to the work of the Wave Project on the Island, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/waveprojectisleofwight.
The Isle of Wight High Sheriff’s Trust awards small but vital grants to benefit Island charities and community groups with an emphasis on the needs of the young, the elderly and crime prevention. Donations can be made at https://www.justgiving.com/highsherrifstrustiow.
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