Rhubarb 2019

8 ST EDWARD’S r h u b a r b

Surf Therapy In 2008, Tim Conibear (E, 1995-2000) moved to Cape Town to pursue a career in the wine industry. At weekends, Tim took children from the local townships surfing at Cape Town’s Muizenberg Beach. Tim started surfing during his time at St Edward’s, on a summer surf camp and memorably at Bells Beach on a hockey tour to Australia in 1998. Having created the first ever surf club in a South African township in 2011, Tim teamed up with researchers from the University of Cape Town (UCT) who were interested to see how the surf club was helping young people face trauma. It was found that the confidence associated with learning to surf, and the care offered by the local coaches, was helping young people cope with issues including abuse at home, gang membership and drug use. In partnership with UCT, Tim formed Waves for Change ( www. waves-for-change.org ), now one of the leading Sport for Development charities worldwide. Waves for Change trains and supports local communities to open surf therapy programmes for young people living hard lives along the coast of Africa and Liberia, reaching 1,500 children weekly. This year and next, in partnership with Comic Relief, Waves for Change will support 20 new countries worldwide to introduce surf therapy.

In 2014, over 6,000 miles away on the east coast of Scotland, Jamie Marshall (E, 2003-2008) pulled on a thick wetsuit to run a pilot of the Wave Project’s ( www. waveproject.co.uk ) surf therapy. Surfing had played a hugely important part in Jamie’s life since he was introduced to the sport on a St Edward’s trip organised by Mr Lambe in 2004. This experience led to qualification as a surf instructor, founding the Wave Project in Scotland and even competitive international representation for Scotland. Surfing also played a pivotal role on a more personal level as an outlet for stress and anxiety in Jamie’s life. The Wave Project utilises a unique combination of surfing, safe space provision and peer mentoring to help young people overcome a wide range of mental health challenges. The programme has robust evidence demonstrating its benefits in improvements to confidence, self-esteem and mental wellbeing, and has been widely endorsed by the NHS and social services across the UK. Specifically, in Scotland, the project has grown from a pilot of 20 young people in 2014 to working with more than 100 young people a year with demand for even more service provision. UK-wide the project has reached over 3,000 young people since its inception. Having achieved a MSc at the University of Edinburgh in Physical Activity for Health, Jamie recently left the Wave Project to study for the world’s first PhD focused exclusively on surf therapy with the aim of


Tim Conibear (E, 1995-2000) with surf therapy participants in Cape Town South Africa

supporting other charities and NGOs across the world. Despite being at Teddies at different times, and having followed separate paths to surf therapy, Tim and Jamie are now closely collaborating on a range of global projects. Both helped lay the foundations for (and now hold key roles within) the International Surf Therapy Organization (ISTO) ( www.intlsurftherapy.org ). Founded in 2017, ISTO has exciting plans, including a conference in California in the autumn to make sure surf therapy is at the forefront of conversations across a range of media. There are opportunities to get involved with this global movement alongside these aquatic OSE - please do not hesitate to get in touch on the website links above.

Jamie Marshall (E, 2003-2008) helps a young person on a wave in Scotland

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