Dunbar has been chosen as the first site in Scotland for a pioneering surf school aimed at helping troubled teens beat their problems.
Classes for ‘Barneys’, or new-start surfers, run by the Wave Project from Cornwall, was set to begin this week for young people aged between eight and 18.
The youngsters have all been referred to the scheme by organisations such as mental health bodies, schools and bereavement charities.
Project co-ordinator Jamie Marshall (24) said: “On the east coast, Belhaven at Dunbar is one of the most consistent spots when it comes to wave swell and one of the real advantages of surfing when it comes to helping kids is just that it’s fun – whether it’s their first time or whether they’ve been surfing for years.
“It enables communication skills and social skills to be built up, all the while having a lot of fun.”
Jamie – who set up the school in only a matter of months after moving to Dunbar – has been a keen surfer for 13 years and has built up the enterprise thanks to cash injections from a range of charitable trusts and the National Lottery.
He is also keen to take the classes to other parts of Scotland.
He added: “The fact it has progressed so quickly has been really encouraging and the reason for that is that so many people have been so supportive – the way the Scottish surfing community has got behind this has been really fantastic.”
The project has also received the backing of MSP Iain Gray (Lab), who said: “The Wave Project’s surf course is an innovative way to help local youngsters improve their confidence and I wish the organisers every success with this.”