Sport in the community

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


“Today, against all expectations, my son not only got into a wetsuit, but surfed! You have no idea what a huge breakthrough this is.”

Lifeworks project Breaking the Barrier offers learning disabled children and young adults, aged 8 to 25, the opportunity to experience surfing in a safe and supported environment.

These events, which take place in Devon and Cornwall, offer learning disabled participants 1-to-1 surf sessions with a specialist instructor, as well as group sessions for families.

2017 will be Breaking the Barrier’s 10th year. Over the past 9 years, we have held annual, one-day surf events at various locations, building relationships with a network of professional surf schools, and volunteers from our local community.

To compliment the surfing, we run activities on the beach, with food, entertainments, interactive arts and sports stalls. Young surfers have enjoyed Punch & Judy, live bands, collaborative artwork, drumming, football, sand castle competitions, trampolining and much more!

The events are free to the participants. They offer the young people the opportunity to trial a sport that otherwise might not be possible. The project aims to address the lack of sporting opportunities for young people with learning disabilities and to remove obstacles to taking part such as; lack of money, limitations due to disability or health, and social and rural isolation.

Why do we need your help now? For our 10th year we would like to;

1. Expand the events at Bigbury and Saunton to provide 64 1-to-1 sessions at each event. This will also mean increasing spaces on the group sessions for families.
2. Re-introduce a third event at Polzeath, which will provide 64 1-to-1 sessions.

3. Young people have been asking us for more sporting opportunities, so next year we aim to offer additional taster sessions of alternative adventure sports- to include trampolining and cycling. This will add 32 new opportunities for participation and be the start of expanding the variety of sports offered as a part of Breaking the Barrier.

The funds we are requesting will cover running costs for all 3 events in 2017 plus 2 additional sport taster sessions. Costs include; purchase & maintenance of specialist equipment; hire of expert surf, cycle and trampoline instructors; project staffing; volunteer training & support costs; wetsuit hire; design & purchase of marketing and registration materials; resources for on the beach activities; venue hire, equipment and development costs for additional adventure sports. The funds provide renewal and development costs to sustain and grow Breaking the Barrier from 2017 forward.

Breaking the Barrier 2017 will make a difference to learning disabled children, young adults and their families. It will;

1. offer 200 learning disabled young people the opportunity to participate in a new sport experience, with an emphasis on fun, enjoyment and achievement.

2. allow participants to take part in popular sport activities together with their family.

3. encourage the young people to become regularly active by making links between them and local sports groups.

4. create the opportunity for 100 community volunteers to get involved in this unique project, helping to promote inclusion in our local communities.

We have introduced over 1000 learning disabled young people and their families to the joys of surfing so far- encouraging them to develop an “I can do it!” attitude. We have seen friendships form and families meet at the events, creating support systems that reach far beyond the beach.

With the expansion at the existing venues of Bigbury and Saunton, the addition of a third event at Polzeath, plus the introduction of additional sports to the project, we will be able to deliver the magic of Breaking the Barrier to 200 learning disable young people and their families in 2017.

“Best of all he LOVED it. It may have rained, but it will be a sunshine event in my memory."

Lifeworks Charity Ltd

Location: Dartington, South Hams District, United Kingdom

I am proud of this project for bringing together young people with learning disabilities and their families to experience a life-changing adventure. It inspires our local community and our volunteers.

Each event brings challenges, breakthroughs and the brightest smiles I’ve ever seen.
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