23 July 2012

Breaking the Barrier Through Surfing

Four excited volunteers from Newcross arrived at Bigbury-on-Sea very early on a Sunday morning to be greeted with fantastic sunshine and just enough wind to create some waves perfect for any surfer to learn on.

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James Woulfe, Tracy O'Kennedy and Steve Willis all volunteered to assist the surfers in the water

But today wasn't just about any surfers, it was about children and young people under the age of 25 learning to surf in a fully supported environment with 1 to 1 tuition, additional adult support from volunteers and most importantly, their friends and family taking part right beside them.

Over 80 participants with learning disabilities took to the waves with qualified surfing instructors, volunteers and most importantly their friends and family, who also wanted to surf. There was a real party atmosphere on the beach with almost every single surfer coming out of the water thrilled and exhilarated with the experience.

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Each participant had 1:1 attention with a qualified instructor

James Woulfe, Network Manager, said, "The delight and laughter from all the children was fantastic.  Each one was a joy and really got into the surfing.  I thoroughly enjoyed the day and would gladly do it again. There was also a great range of activities for all and I know my children enjoyed the bouncy castle, Punch and Judy and the hot dogs too. Can't wait for next year!"

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Crooked Tempo Samba Band Entertain the crowd

HR Director Tracy O'Kennedy said, "I thoroughly enjoyed the event, and I gained a very special insight into the wonderful opportunities available for those less able than myself. I felt proud of every child as they held out for my hand and relied on me and the instructor to help keep them safe. It was a wonderful experience all round - I shall certainly be volunteering again."

Head of Finance, Steve Willis said, "Had a fun and energetic day with a variety of ages of children, all of whom loved the experience of surfing.  It was hard work walking through the sea, catching surf boards and kids but it was all worth it to see their enjoyment. On the beach the music, BBQ and bouncy castle provided entertainment and distractions - a great effort was put in by all volunteers to make the day a success. Definitely would do again next year."

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Everyone had a fantastic experience in the surf!

Stephen Pattrick, CEO of Newcross Healthcare, said, "Newcross has always had a strong ethos of supporting charities, but Breaking the Barrier offers an entirely unique experience for young people with learning disabilities to take part in a surfing lesson right alongside their siblings, friends and families. It's entirely inclusive, and that's really important to us."