A 16-year old girl who was referred to The Wave Project as a young carer has now qualified as a surf instructor after volunteering to help other young people.
Ebony Cave, from Newquay, spent a big part of her early teens caring for her uncle David, who had Down’s syndrome.
It meant that she had less time to spend with her friends, and in particular missed out on going surfing – a sport she had previously enjoyed.
She was referred to The Wave Project by Cornwall’s Young Carer’s service in September 2011, and began a six week course in surfing with the project.
Ebony said her course enabled her to rekindle her love of surfing, and gave her the opportunity to enjoy the sport once more and make new friends.
She said: ““I used to surf quite a lot when I was younger, but as I became a young carer I had a limited amount of time to do it.
“I was referred on to the Wave Project and loved it straight away.
“It was really good fun. All the volunteers who worked with me were really supportive and encouraging.
“It had a really happy vibe and gave me the chance to hone my skills and get better at surfing.”
After completing her course, Ebony asked to be able to volunteer with the project to help other young people.
She said: “I saw what an effect it had on myself and other people and I wanted to give something back. I wanted to help some of the other clients feel as happy and as encouraged as I was.
“I felt like I was part of a little community of surfers helping other people.
“It was really nice volunteering having been a client on the project, and watching other kids coming out of their shells and being more interactive with each other. It was nice to see them with a smile on her face.”
Ebony has continued volunteering with the Wave Project ever since she completed her course three years ago.
Now the Project has provided funding for Ebony to do her ISA Surf Coach award – making her the first of the project’s clients to achieve surf coach level.
She has completed her course, and needs to complete a further 20 hours of surf coaching as a volunteer to be fully qualified. Ebony plans to do this by volunteering with The Wave Project over spring.
Ebony, who completes her GCSEs this year, said she hopes to become a surf coach when she turns 18.