Surf's up for St Oswald's Hospice!

It was an epic day at the beach on Thursday 18th August.  Some of the children and young adults who we care for at St Oswald’s Hospice, hit the water together with South Shields Surf CIC for one last surfing session of the summer.

“Hannah absolutely loves it! She now wants a wetsuit and a board of her own!” said Katy Jones, whose daughter, Hannah, age 10, was one of the children surfing this summer and has been totally inspired. “I never dreamt that it would be possible,” added Katy.

But thankfully, our Physiotherapist, Amanda McCleery, and the rest of the team did dare to dream it would be possible.  In early summer, 2021, Amanda headed down to South Shields Surf CIC to meet with Nick Jones and a plan was hatched.  Using adaptive surf boards, surfing sessions began last summer and they were a big hit with everyone involved.

However, this summer, riding on a wave of enthusiasm from the children, the team wanted to up their game – and found the perfect partners to help them create the chair board.  Beach Access North East provided the adaptive board.  Then with the expertise of Peacocks Medical Group, a chair was sourced – they then worked with East Coast Fibreglass Supplies to fit it to the board.

Heather Peacock from Peacocks Medical Group explained: “It was a true collaborative project and we had to get quite technical – it took a lot of problem solving from our innovation team, along with Steve from Beach Access and the team at East Coast Fiberglass. We had to get it right and make sure it worked in the water.”

Heather added:

“My husband and I had seen something similar in South Wales whilst on holiday a few years ago and I said we’ve got to bring something like that to the North East, as I knew we had the capabilities. So, when Nick told me last summer he was running surf sessions for St Oswald’s Hospice, it was perfect and I knew we had to make it happen.   I’m a surfer and total sea addict so I’m passionate about access for all.  It’s brought so much joy to see the idea become a reality.” 

It’s the only board of its kind in the North East and Nick Jones, from South Shields Surf CIC, is proud to have it in his fleet of adaptive surf boards:

 “We were so pleased when St Oswald’s Hospice approached us as co-incidentally we were looking into adaptive surfing at the time. They came down and jumped in with us and it’s taken off from there!  And now we have the chair board, we’re over the moon with how it’s going.  Each week has got better and better as we get used to using the equipment and the kids love it.  The result of this is that it’s changed what’s available for the people of the North East. ”

Amanda and the team have been thrilled with the impact the chair board has made to surf sessions in 2022.  It’s made a huge difference to the accessibility and success of surfing sessions for the children and young adults who have a range of life-limiting illnesses.

Joss Thompson, our Matron of the Children and Young Adults Service explained, “St Oswald’s Hospice is all about providing quality time for everyone and we do so much more for those we care for than people think we do.”

 

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