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Surf Action News


Surf Action Courses & Dates:

9th October 2023

Surf Action Changing Minds
Impact Report Community Fund Changing Minds Project 2023 - Second year report:

‘Changing Minds’ is a 3 year innovative health and wellbeing project which will help people living in Cornwall aged between 7 and 65 who are living with medical, mental health and emotional/behavioural difficulties which are limiting their lives and their ability to participate in the community.

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Surf Action Changing Minds

Surf Action is delighted to offer Community Sea Swimming Ocean-Therapy Courses to support the physical and psychological resilience of families in the Community.

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Surf Action Family Integration Surfing Courses
Surf Action is offering Family Ocean Therapy Courses to support the physical, psychological, resilience and wellbeing of the Community.
Commencing April 2023

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18th January 2022

Surf Action ‘Home Front Family’ project 2022

Surf Action is delighted to announce they have been awarded funding for the ‘Home Front Family’ project through the ‘Sustaining support’ Fund, which is part of the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust:

Surf Action takes a family centred approach with the armed forces community and started the Home Front Families Project 8 years ago because we understood that strong family and community relationships help service personnel, veterans and their family’s better cope with the short and long-term issues which military and civilian life often throws up. With a high proportion of RNAS Culdrose personnel deployed on the HMS Queen Elizabeth and the other ships of the deployment task group, the base Commander describes our courses as ‘an essential element in our ‘armoury’ of welfare and support’

The Home Front Families Project has developed pioneering outdoor, physical and psychological resilience course to support the armed forces community families. Working with individual, groups and families, we provide both green and blue environment-based courses, which help to identify and overcome barriers, battling stigma and social isolation, helping transition into civilian life, boosting family cohesion and relationships, building confidence and highlighting other areas of need.

The focus is on self-confidence in the sea and teamwork as well as discovering the fun of the surf and the beach environment. Parents are encouraged to go into the water to support their youngster and to enjoy quality family time whilst learning new skills together.

Courses will run every Saturday and Sunday morning beginning 30 April 2022 and finish 24 September 2022.

Full details of the courses and how to book are on the attached pdf flyer. Places are expected to fill rapidly so do not delay sending an e-mail to ‘’ for more information and to register!

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28th September 2021


Photographer Paul Gillard shows off his work on our website: LINK. He enjoys taking photographs of nature and spent several years in the Penwith area, spending some time as a volunteer with the RSPB.

Paul on Flickr: LINK

28th June 2021

Changing Minds

Surf Action is delighted to announce that it has been successful in its funding application to ‘The National Lottery Community Fund’ for the Surf Action ‘Changing Minds’ Project, a 3-year, innovative, health and wellbeing project which will help people living in Cornwall aged between 7 and 65 who are living with medical, psychological health and/or emotional/behavioural difficulties which are limiting their lives and their ability to participate fully in the community.

Surf Action expects that participants will range from children who have specific health and educational needs, people who are, or have been, in the criminal justice system, those who have become isolated, struggling families, those who are struggling post-covid and many others.

Surf Action’s experience in working with the armed forces community has shown that early intervention and working with whole families are important because if an individual within a family is struggling it is no good just addressing the needs of that individual, however, by involving the family, the chances of a successful long-term effective intervention are much increased. We have incorporated this experience into ‘Changing Minds’ and will now be working to benefit the wider community.

Surf Action will also be using its experience in the use of progressive lifestyle medicine and the blue and green gym concepts, to involve participants and their families in highly enjoyable/intensive water-sports, and other activities, in the magnificent coastal environment around us with the resulting recognised physical and psychological health benefits.

Surf Action is commencing the project by offering two, 6-week, community ocean therapy courses at Gwithian on Sundays (09.00 —12.30), the two courses will run concurrently each Sunday morning and will commence on Sunday 25th July and end on Sunday 29th August. All family members are encouraged to go into the water! All boards and wetsuits are supplied for free.

Full details of the courses, and how to book, are on the pdf flyer (see below). To regster please contact Surf Action at: for more information.

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28th June 2021

Additional Armed Forces Community Ocean Therapy Courses

Surf Action is delighted to announce the addition of two more Armed Forces Community Ocean Therapy courses as part of our ‘Resilient Communities in the New Normal’ Project, which is part of the ‘Force for Change’ programme funded by:

The project supports the physical and psychological wellbeing of the armed forces and local communities around RNAS Culdrose by helping the armed forces community best deal with the psychological and emotional effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the current heavy deployment cycle, by involvement in healthy activities in the blue and green gyms in the magnificent Cornish coastal environment.

As covid restrictions have been eased this year, following long periods in lockdown, Surf Action has experienced unprecedented demand for these courses from the armed forces community and is delighted to be able to offer two, extra, free, 6-week surfing courses at Gwithian on Sundays (9.00 —12.30) for children/young people aged 7-18 from Armed Forces Community Families. The two courses will run concurrently each Sunday morning with a maximum of 8 children per course and will commence on Sunday 25th July and end on Sunday 29th August. They will be the 11th and 12th, 6-week courses we have run for this project in 2021!

Full details of the courses, and how to book, are on the pdf flyer (see below). Places are expected to fill up rapidly so do not delay sending an email to: for more information and to register!

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30th March 2021

Surf Action welcomes Sam Rodman to the team!

Having previously played in the Greene King IPA Championships for Ealing Trail finders and Jersey Reds, Sam signed to Cornish Pirates at the start of the 2019 season.

17th February 2021

Surf Action is delighted to have been awarded 12-months funding for our ‘Resilient Communities in the New Normal’ Project by the:

as part of their ‘Force for Change’ programme.

The project supports the physical and psychological wellbeing of the armed forces and local communities around RNAS Culdrose by helping the armed forces community best deal with the psychological and emotional effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the current heavy deployment cycle, by involvement in healthy activities in the blue and green gyms in the magnificent Cornish coastal environment. Full details of the courses, and how to book, are in the pdf flyer (see below).

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10th August 2020

Making the Most of Life as the Covid-19 Restrictions are Eased

The coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions have been gradually eased over the last couple of months but are still having an impact on everyone’s daily lives. As we all experience the ‘new normal’ and its associated uncertainties it is important that we do whatever we can to maintain/enhance our physical and psychological resilience.

Everyone should be keeping up to date with the latest government/NHS guidance and by doing this, we are helping to protect yourself, your family, the NHS and your community.

During this time, you may be bored, frustrated or lonely. You may also feel low, worried, anxious, or be concerned about your health or that of those close to you. These are all common reactions to the difficult situation we are living through. Everyone reacts differently to events and changes in the way that we think, feel, and behave vary between different people and over time. It is important that you take care of your mind as well as your body.

Most people will find strategies that work for them and the difficult feelings associated with the outbreak will pass in time as our lives become more normal.

What can help your mental health and wellbeing?
Think about your new daily routine. Life is changing for us all for a while and you will have experienced some disruption to your normal routine. Think about how you can adapt and create positive new routines – try to engage in useful activities (such as cleaning, cooking or exercise) or meaningful activities (such as reading or being in touch with friends). You might find it helpful to write a plan for your day or week.

Consider how to stay connected with others. Maintaining relationships with people you trust is important for your psychological wellbeing. We can now meet outdoors providing we follow the latest distancing advice, and this makes things much easier. You can still stay in touch with friends and family via telephone, video calls or social media as you probably did during lockdown however our brains are ‘social’ and work for us the best in the physical presence of other people.

Help and support others. Think about how you can continue to help those around you – it could make a big difference to them and can make you feel better too. It is important to listen to and accept other people’s concerns, worries or behaviours. You may wish to do this alone, with friends or as a member of an organised community group.

Talk about your worries. It is quite common to feel worried, scared, or helpless about the current situation. Remember that this is a difficult time for everyone and sharing with family and friends how you are feeling and the things you are doing to cope can help them too. If you don’t feel able to do that, there are people you can speak to via NHS recommended helplines.

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6th August 2020

Promoting the Connections Between Military Couples During Deployments

The Partner at Home

Understand that your deployed partner’s routine may mean they are heavily restricted as to when they can contact you by phone or get mobile signal. Try to show your appreciation rather than annoyance by their (always imperfect) timing!

‘Small things often’: Studies by ‘The Gottman Institute’ ( found that those who engaged in simple, consistent attempts at positive communication feel more connected as a couple. Sometimes the shortest emails or messages letting your deployed partner know you are thinking of them can mean the most, regardless of distance.

Try to keep the bad news to a minimum. Things always go wrong or break during deployments, each time they hear about something else it can leave your deployed partner feeling more guilty and powerless.
Involve your deployed partner in your daily routine whilst they are away. Making a habit of something like taking a selfie over breakfast with everyone to send to them as a ‘good morning’ message will help you both feel included in each other’s lives.

If possible, send goody parcels to your deployed partner including their favourite treats from home using the ‘Enduring Families Free Mail Service (EFFMS)’. (See: for weight/size limits).

Consider how stressful your deployed partner’s trip has been when planning any homecoming parties. Sometimes they may need a few days quietly adjusting back into family life before having a houseful of relatives and friends.

Looking after yourself is important so plan some ‘Self-Care’, something for yourself to look forward to as a treat while they’re away: a night out/spa day/minibreak, especially if it’s a special date or anniversary. You deserve to celebrate even if they can’t be there with you!

Don’t be afraid to ask for support, saying ‘yes’ to help isn’t always easy but can be very necessary during a period of separation. You’re juggling the house, children, pets and jobs singlehandedly. Delegating some of the ‘To Do’ list to friends and family will help you feel supported and better able to cope with the stresses of deployment.

The Deployed Partner

Establish the easiest mode of communication with your home as early as possible. Share your military email address with your partner, let them know which apps get best signal where you are and give them the BFPO address.
Find out about support resources for any younger children before you leave (Little Troopers separation packs, My Daddy’s Going Away/Mummy’s Home! Books, Huggable Heroes and either Storybook Wings, Storybook Waves or Storybook Soldier depending on your branch).

On a practical level, try to ensure all your accounts and important paperwork are in both yours and your partners names. This saves a lot of time and stressful messages when you’ve changed energy suppliers and the company won’t accept a reading from your partner in your absence (been there!).

If children are old enough, make sure they know how to send you an email and then they can share news with you as well. ‘INmail’ allows you to upload letters, photos and drawings which are securely printed & sent for you.
Try to turn homesickness into an opportunity for appreciation. Instead of getting into a negative mindset, show gratitude to your partner by sharing with them all the things you didn’t expect to miss and make plans to do them together on your return.

Be clear in your need to hear from your partner and let them know how much it means while you’re away. Facing disconnection while separated can lead to feelings of insecurity in your relationship and resentment. Connection and communication are pivotal in maintaining closeness even when apart.

(Surf Action Therapist and Royal Naval Parent, Victoria Culshaw: July 2020)

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6th August 2020

‘You Got This!’ - Going Back to School


A little positivity goes a long way, so try to be an ‘ambassador of optimism’ for others when they are feeling anxious or overwhelmed. I’m going to highlight a few things you’re ‘already awesome at’ that will help you to ‘NAIL going back to school!’

As part of a military family you’ve probably dealt with plans changing on a regular basis and having to be flexible when organising birthdays, trips or any other activities. School is going to be the same, they’re having to make lots of last- minute decisions that affect hundreds of children & teaching staff. If you’re used to ‘going with the flow’ you’ll be able to make the best of any situation without feeling majorly unsettled or anxious.

Getting some structure back into your day can help focus your brain and be less energy-draining than having to think of all the different ways to pass the time during lockdown. It can be scary to think you’ll be out of practise when it comes to whole days of schoolwork but having some routine is better for your mental health.

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6th August 2020

The Surf Action ‘Community Integration and Wellbeing Project’

This weekend (8th/9th August) marks the end of our first four, 6-week armed forces community ocean therapy courses at Gwithian funded by:

We had intended to start the project in March 2020 however the Covid-19 pandemic delayed us until the social distancing restrictions were relaxed in July. We then restructured the courses from 8-weeks to 6-weeks due to the delayed start and moved the venue from Praa Sands to Gwithian on the north coast of Cornwall. This has all proved to be highly successful and all four courses were over-subscribed. The only other change we had to make was to move all courses to the morning after the first couple of weeks due to the carpark at Gwithian being full by lunchtime!

By the half-way point the families had all experienced a wide variety of weather and surf conditions and demonstrated superb resilience and teamwork all of which will help keep families strong at this uncertain time.

At the end of this week’s water sessions there will be a certificate presentation followed by a community lunch. We are starting two more 6-week courses the following weekend and they are both fully subscribed!

We may be living in uncertain times but with good planning, flexibility and cooperation from everybody we are delighted to have successfully returned to working with, and making a difference to, the armed forces community in 2020.

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28th July 2020

The Surf Action ‘Blue Health Recovery Pathway’

Surf Action is delighted to have been awarded funding for a 2-year project by:

As part of their ‘Positive Pathways Programme’.

The Blue Health Recovery Pathway encourages veterans to experience the proven, natural, physical and psychological health benefits from participation in low-impact, enjoyable, high intensity group activities including surfing, kayaking, games and other shore activities in the stunning west country coastal environment with the assistance of other veterans and professionals.

The Covid-19 situation has naturally delayed some of our delivery but we are now back in the water with the veterans and amending our delivery as the associated rules are changed and relaxed.

We recognise that strong family relationships are central to achieving long-term resilience and integrate their families in our ‘Community Integration and Resilience Project’ when possible to the benefit of all concerned.

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Surf Action is delighted to have been awarded additional short-term funding to help deal with the increase in demand for its services during the Covid-19 pandemic. The funding has been awarded by:

As part of their ‘Additional support for vulnerable veterans’ strand of their ‘Covid-19 Impact Programme’.

Surf Action will use this funding to support the armed forces community at this difficult time when the charity has experienced a significant increase in requests for physical, psychological and relationship help/advice of varying degrees of seriousness/urgency from new, past and present service users.

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The Surf Action ‘Community Integration and Wellbeing Project’

Surf Action is delighted to have been awarded 12-months funding for our Community Integration and Wellbeing Project by:

as part of their ‘Local Grants Programme’.
The project supports the physical and psychological wellbeing of the armed forces and local communities around RNAS Culdrose by helping local families best deal with the emotional effects of the current heavy deployment cycle by involvement in healthy activities in the blue and green gyms in the magnificent Cornish coastal environment.

We had intended to start the project in March 2020 however the Covid-19 pandemic delayed us until the social distancing restrictions were relaxed in July. We then advertised four, six week courses which rapidly became fully subscribed.

Prior to the start of the courses we changed the venue to Gwithian near Hayle which provides more regular surf conditions and this proved to be very successful.

At the half-way point the families have all experienced a wide variety of weather and surf conditions and demonstrated resilience and teamwork.

We are now in the process of offering two follow-on courses as demand has proved to be very high.

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6th July 2020

Surf Action hit the road sprinting this weekend in the brave new post-lockdown world. With fantastic support from @globalboarderssurfco, we started four, 6-week, armed forces community wellbeing and resilience surf courses at Gwithian funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust. Two courses ran on Saturday and two more on Sunday. All current social distancing and health related regulations were successfully incorporated into our delivery model. The families on Saturday demonstrated great resilience dealing with heavy showers and very strong winds. Sunday was still windy but there was lovely sunshine. A fantastic but somewhat belated start to our 2020 courses. We hope to run another four courses when the current ones have finished.

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10th June 2020

Surf Action is delighted to have Victoria Culshaw on board. Vickie is also very pleased to have joined the Surf Action team as a Communication and Relationship Counsellor, registered with the BACP since 2018. She has a lifelong experience of being in a military family and looks forward to being able to offer support to individuals and couples in association with this great community.

Please get in touch directly with Vickie or through Surf Action.
Tel:0759 9588 955

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14th September 2017

Evaluation Report
Surf Action Family Relationships and Community Integration Project 2017

An evaluation of Surf Action’s Family Relationships and Community Integration Project 2017 funded by the Royal British Legion

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16th August 2017

Below is a copy of an excellent article written about Surf Action on behalf of the Royal British Legion by Tristan Nichols (Public Relations Officer South) on 14th August 2017. The original article can be found here .

How military families are bonding through surfing

If there’s a more fun way to learn about sea safety than going surfing, we’ve yet to hear it. So, when Surf Action came to The Royal British Legion asking for support in running water-activity courses for military families, we were only too happy to help.

14 August 2017
A grant from the Legion has enabled Surf Action to run a series of courses at the beautiful Praa Sands in Cornwall. The courses helped children and their parents learn about sea confidence and swimming in the sea through surfing, paddle-board, and kayaking activities.

Over 70 children and over 100 parents took part in the courses, including Chris, Laura and their daughter Amelia.

Chris and Laura with Amelia on Praa Sands.

“I think it’s amazing that the Legion is funding this sort of project,” says Chris. “You’d never expect that the Legion supports surf lessons and safety in the water sessions.”

“Given Amelia’s autism, sometimes it can be a real mission to motivate her to take part in activities. When we do go to the beach as a family we do find ourselves worrying about Amelia especially as she does her own thing without any real regard to her safety.”

“Amelia has sensory needs. In the past, we have taken her to the beach and she has had no concerns about running off into the water. She never considered rip tides, or being out of her depth, and of course that was worrying for us.”

Amelia taking part in the Surf Action courses with other military children.

“The wonderful thing about these sessions,” says Laura, “is that she and the other kids are meeting people; they’re learning about discipline; and safety in and out of the water."

“She understands the dangers and now, as a family, we feel much safer bringing her to the beach. Amelia cannot wait to get involved in the Surf Action courses. She absolutely loves it and that’s lovely to see.”

The courses by Surf Action introduce children to sea safety through surfing, paddle-boarding and kayaking.

Military parents and children are taken through sea safety.

“Surf Action is bringing families together to help children and their parents best deal with the heavy emotional cycle of deployment," says Steve Baynes, Head of Social Policy & Grant Giving at The Royal British Legion.

“The surfing sessions help to build self-confidence, encourage teamwork and awareness amongst children and parents who take part in the activities. This assists with a variety of challenges that can arise from having a parent in the Armed Forces.”

“This grant highlights the breadth of activities that assist the Armed Forces community and The Legion is proud to continue our financial support of Surf Action’s excellent and unique work.”

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17th July 2017

Surf Action statement from CDM

Surf Action would like to thank ‘Forces Reunited’ for their kind donation of £4600 to cover the cost of putting 10 armed forces veterans who are in need of improved physical and psychological wellbeing, through our, 8 week, ‘Ocean Therapy’ course. The support of organisations such as ‘Forces Reunited’ is invaluable to us in being able to best support veterans who have been, adversely affected by their service.

In their statement, ‘Forces Reunited’ said:

‘Forces Reunited is delighted to be supporting Surf Action with this donation. CEO Dominic Hayhoe, an ex-serviceman himself, says “I understand the need for the help that this charity provides to those suffering from trauma or injury, and when trying to return to civilian life. I started Forces Reunited just over 16 years ago, to help forces pals find each other, it’s been an exciting journey for us, and we’ve supported many very worthy charities along the way. We’re extremely proud to be able to make this donation to Surf Action, and look forward to following the progress of the 10 veterans as they undertake their Ocean Therapy Course.”

Forces Reunited is the largest online community of British Armed Forces servicemen and ex-servicemen, now with over 1 million members. Pals can reunite and stay in touch via the lively Forum, share photos in the Gallery area, keep up to date with the latest Forces News and enjoy Featured Articles from our ambassadors such as Major General David Shaw. All of this is free, including an assisted search for those struggling to find people they served with, and for just £8.95 a year, full members can then safely private message each other.

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Surf Action Health and Wellbeing Residential

Coombe, Morwenstow, North Cornwall, 13th-17th March 2017

The Landmark Trust has very kindly donated the use of two wonderful and historic 17th century thatched cottages in North Cornwall to Surf Action for use as the base for a health and wellbeing residential.

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Surf Action in association with the Royal British Legion are offering:

Service Children Activity Courses commencing in spring 2017.
8 Week Surfing Courses at Praa Sands on a Saturday or Sunday from 10am—1pm.
All boards and wetsuits supplied.

Course 1: Sat 1st April—Sat 20th May
Course 2: Sun 2nd April—Sun 2ist May
Course 3: Sat 27th May—Sat 15th July
Course 4: Sun 28th May—Sun 16th July

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Surf Action - Serving/Veterans Partner’s Project

Meeting at Lakeside Café, Coronation Lake, Helston each Wednesday morning from 10 until 12 from the 3rd May-21st June 2017

If you are the partner to either a serving armed forces member or a veteran then
this is for you!

The project is designed to provide a weekly opportunity for you to have an all too
rare couple of hours away from the family and the time to concentrate on yourself
and your own wellbeing within a supportive group of fellow partners.

Each Wednesday for 8 weeks the group will meet at the Lakeside Cafe at Coronation Lake in Helston where there will be the opportunity for a quick drink and catch-up before going on to participate in a group activity in the beautiful local area.

By participating in regular healthy physical activity in the natural environment, learning a few new skills along with the social engagement and interaction should be a welcome boost to your own resilience and wellbeing.

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23rd December 2016

Surf Action veterans back in service.

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3rd October 2016

Surf Action is delighted to announce that in conjunction with the Navy Boardriders and Paul Stainsby that we can offer three funded places on a NVBLQ Lifeguard course, this is open to all veterans and serving personnel. The course will run over the weekends of the 15/16th,22/23rd, and an assessment on the 29th of October, so a strong commitment will be needed. (Good fitness and swimming also needed). The course will be run at RNAS Culdrose by Paul. If you are interested please contact Surf Action asap on for an application form.

23rd August 2016

Surf Action has just completed its latest project which was part funded by the West Cornwall Youth Trust and has published its comprehensive report today on this site under the heading of 'Evidential Reports'.

18th August 2016

Surf Action has been a member of Cobseo since 2012
(Confederation of Service Charities)

Read an article about us on their website

3rd March 2016

Surf Action is delighted to have been awarded some funding by the West Cornwall Youth Trust to run its ‘Surf Action Sharks’ project for service and civilian youngsters during 2016.

The project will explore and evidence the benefits of early intervention to support the mental health and well-being of children in families of former and military personnel and in doing so reduce the increasing demands for services the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). We will do this through a programme of vigorous activities that integrate children from forces and non-forces families through surfing and beach related activities. Recently published academic research based on our delivery has evidenced the link between surfing/beach activities and increased mental health and wellbeing We want to explore the benefits of this approach for military children and will also be able to measure the benefits for children in non-forces families and the differences between the two groups.

We will be running a series of back to back 8-week Ocean Therapy courses at Newquay (RAF St Mawgan children) and Praa Sands (RNAS Culdrose children) with 10 children/course.

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2015 news item


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Surf Action is delighted to announce the start of a new, free, six week water-sports course for veterans at Tregonhawke Beach, Military Road, Whitsand Bay, Cornwall, PL10 1JZ commencing on Saturday 15th August 2015. The course will run for 6 consecutive Saturdays (22nd and 29th August 2015, 5th, 12th and 9th September 2015) commencing at 11.30 and ending at 14.30. The course is open to 10 veterans, so early booking is essential. This will be done on a referral basis either by self-referral or a referral by another organisation. The self-referral forms can be downloaded from this website in the ‘Downloads’ page, or you can contact Surf Action on 01209 210350 or by email to We have changed the day from Wednesday to Saturday in response to the many veterans who told us they are unable to attend during the week.

2015 news item

Armed Forces Project 2015

A unique opportunity for Armed Forces Community members

The Theatre Royal Plymouth, Bravo 22 and The Royal British Legion are creating a new play based on the experiences of the Armed Forces community in Plymouth.

How to get involved:
If you are over 18 and interested in being involved please email: or call 01752 230379. We will always get back to you.

General info about the project can be found at:

2015 news item

Disabled Serving Personnel and Veterans Gig Project -

Build a Cornish pilot gig and row her to the Isles of Scilly to take part in the World Championships

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Grant Clarey

A lifeguard, surfer and volunteer with Surf Action.

Dozens of surfers have paid tribute in a Hawaiian style to Grant, who died after battling with depression.

Full story:
Hawaiian paddle-out for Cornish surfer

He will be missed.

BBC News - 31st March 2015

Veterans' mental health: Referrals rise by 26%