City to Sea

The project is now complete

City to Sea took young people from inner-city London and urban areas of Cornwall to the beach to experience the benefit of surf therapy. By creating inclusive surfing communities and using a combination of creative surfing and person-centred mentoring, the project aimed to transform participants’ physical and mental wellbeing.

Project information


Grant amount

October 2018 – November 2021

Project duration

Laureus Sport for Good / The Wave Project

Grantee organisations

City to Sea aimed to work with at least 540 disadvantaged young people aged 8-21 identified through The Wave Project’s referral partnerships with CAMHS and other statutory services. The Wave Project intentionally targeted referrals of young people who were isolated and vulnerable because of complex needs such as mental health problems, disability and illness, with a target of 40% of participants self-identifying as disabled. Some may have experienced trauma and crisis, or face problems exacerbated by self-harm, challenging behaviour, eating disorders and/or other difficulties.

Participants took part in a six-week Surf Therapy course, combining outdoor physical exercise at sea with one-to-one mentoring. Both the sea and sport provided a restorative and sensory experience that motivated young people to learn new skills, overcome challenges and socialise. Course graduates could elect to join a regular surf club coordinated by other young people, focused on social connectedness, communication and developing teamwork skills. Some members of the surf club were subsequently invited to volunteer as peer mentors on future Surf Therapy courses, developing their leadership skills whilst sharing their experiences with current participants.

Project aims

  1. Improved wellbeing, self-esteem and resilience.
  2. Reduced social isolation and better, stronger relationships
  3. Improved emotional development, soft skills and improved life skills through volunteering
  4. Disabled people feel more able to participate in physical activity / sport
  5. Improved perceptions of disability


I feel that all my worries disappear when I’m on my bodyboard. It is the place I feel most relaxed.

– City to Sea participant

She has benefitted so hugely; her confidence and self esteem have been so positively and
noticeably impacted by her attendance at the sessions, and it has been the highlight of her
week for the past month. It has also greatly supported her transition and reintegration into

– Parent of City To Sea participant

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