What we do

Who we support

Wild and Free Therapy CIC runs individual and group sea-based programmes for children and young people who have disabilities or additional needs, and those with physical or social-emotional/mental health barriers to accessing sports, community or mainstream education. Additionally, we run programmes for carers and other adults who may be excluded by social and economic barriers.  We aim to make ocean-based activity accessible to everyone.

Our programmes and services are commissioned by schools, charities and public bodies and we also work directly with individuals and families. 

Our staff are qualified coaches in their specialisms (surfing/paddle boarding/sea swimming/yoga), and we have qualified ISA trained adaptive surf coaches.  All have extensive experience working with people with disability and mental health issues, and our team includes qualified trauma-informed practitioners and young people’s mentors. We can offer bespoke coaching sessions, using modified techniques to meet a variety of physical, sensory, learning, communication or mental health needs.  

From just getting you in the sea and building your water confidence to progressing your board skills, these sessions include physical activity (e.g. surfing, paddle boarding, body boarding), often with elements of sensory regulation and outdoor play therapy.

What we do

Surf Therapy programmes

We work with schools, charities and public bodies to provide bespoke programmes of 6-8 weeks, to small groups of young people aged 8-18 who:

  • Have disabilities, neurodiversity or additional needs
  • Are at risk of exclusion, have social, emotional, mental health barriers to accessing sports, community or education.
These sessions include sea-based physical activities (including, but not limited to, surfing) and vital psychoeducation where appropriate.

Surf therapy combines the therapeutic elements of the ocean with the adventure of surfing to impact the physical and mental well-being of individuals. During these sessions, our coaches and volunteers will guide, mentor, and support people, which can positively affect mental health.

Group surf therapy in Dorset
Adaptive surf therapy in Dorset

Individual Adaptive Surfing

For children and young people of any age.

Adaptive Surfing quite simply is adapting to, and accommodating, an individual's needs, so that they can access surfing in a way that works for them.

Whether this be through a physical disability, a cognitive impairment, a sensory need, or a mental health challenge, we aim to provide a means to bringing participants to the ocean and helping them access waves.

We have our own adaptive surfboards, including a large, stable surf board with a seating option to accommodate participants who are wheelchair users, and those with profound and complex disabilities. We also have adaptive surfboards to support buoyancy, stability, and control, for participants who may have difficulty with balance, gross motor skills, or following out instructions. These sessions include physical activity (surfing or paddle boarding), sensory regulation and outdoor play therapy.

Staffing is in line with the individual’s specific needs, which is fully assessed prior to the session. Sessions are child-centric and based on social joy and attachment building with trusted adults. We take a whole-family approach and work closely with family members to ensure that the young person is engaged, connected and represented throughout their journey with us.

Individual Adaptive Paddle Boarding

For children, young people and adults who prefer the predictability of flat water and enclosed water or rivers.

Adaptive paddle boarding means enabling a person with any additional need to access the joy and tranquility of paddle boarding. Whether you have a physical reason for needing extra support, or a cognitive or confidence issue, we are experienced in making paddle boarding work in the best way for you.

We have our own adaptive paddle board, in which a participant can be seated with the instructor aboard and controlling the vessel. This option allows individuals with profound and complex disabilities to access the water safely.

We can also facilitate paddle boarding for those that need extra support on regular paddle boards. Where appropriate, and particularly for young people, these sessions include physical activity, sensory regulation and outdoor play therapy. Staffing is in line with the individual’s specific needs, which is fully assessed prior to the session.

Sessions are personalised and based on social joy and attachment building with trusted adults. We take a whole-family approach when working with a child, and work closely with family members to ensure that the young person is engaged, connected and represented throughout their journey with us. We particularly enjoy facilitating family members joining each other on the water, so that they can mutually enjoy the experience together.

Adaptive paddleboarding - surf therapy in Dorset
Adaptive paddleboarding in Bournemouth
Waves and wellbeing - parent carer blue space therapy programme

Waves and Wellbeing - Parents' and Carers' Programme

A six week blue space therapeutic programme focussing on emotional, social and mental health support for individuals who have a caring role.

Aimed at those who have typically prioritised their loved ones' health and happiness and would benefit from focussing on their own holistic wellbeing.

Each week takes a different focus, allowing participants to experience activities that they may not otherwise have had the time, confidence or opportunity to access, including surfing, paddle boarding, wild swimming, and beach yoga.

Along with the sessions being physically beneficial, they can be effective in building self-esteem and resilience and help people to feel confident about taking on different challenges.

Pilot sessions for local groups

We run one-off bespoke sessions for groups of up to eight participants. To date we have worked with local charities supporting children with disabilities, young people with mental health challenges, and young carers.

These sessions are an opportunity to share social joy with a cohort of similar peers, while developing key physical skills and enhancing psychological factors.

Surf therapy - yoga warm up

Current Programmes

~WonderWaves~

A Blue Space Therapy Programme for home educated children

Aimed at children who are home educated, the six-week programme will provide an opportunity to learn, bond and grow through physical and emotional exploration. With a child-centric ethos, participants will have the opportunity to try activities such as surfing, body boarding and beach yoga, with an emphasis on mindfulness, resilience and trusted attachments. It will also be an opportunity for parents and carers to meet and share time together.

We welcome participants who identify as neurodivergent and those with SEND, alongside their neurotypical friends.

Details of the programme:
Tuesdays: 10am – 12pm
6 weeks starting on Tuesday 4th June
Age Range: 5 to 15 (split by ages)
Location: Sorted Surf School, Boscombe Honeycombe Beach
Price: £95*

* The cost of the programme is kindly supported by The Boshier Hinton Foundation and The Dorset Children’s Foundation. This also means we are able to offer the programme at a reduced cost of £50 to families where affordability is a barrier. We will require evidence of means tested benefits such as Universal Credit.

Please complete this form to register interest for your child and we will be in touch with more details.

Get in Touch

Contact us to take part, volunteer, donate or find out more.