Having recently received foundation level of the new UK-wide ‘Equality Standard: A Framework for Sport’, Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland was delighted to receive an award of £3,750 from Sport Northern Ireland to continue its partnership with Autism Initiatives NI in promoting equality and good relations through the sport of surfing.
After having participated in Outdoor Recreation NI’s successful Venture Outdoors programme, Autism Initiatives NI established vital links with the Alive Surf School at West Stand Beach, Portrush.
This partnership worked together to successfully create Northern Ireland’s first ever autism specific summer surf club which promotes physical activity and social inclusion for participants.
Pauline Graham, Health & Activity Coordinator from Autism Initiatives NI noted; “Research has proven that surfing greatly benefits those with an autism spectrum condition (ASC). The health benefits are obvious however the social interactivity is just as important. Many people experience social isolation as a result of their condition and this programme allows people to make friends and have fun doing it!”
The funding received from Sport Northern Ireland, has allowed the purchase of two custom made surf boards, built for tandem surfing which will provide participants with an increased sense of security while hitting the Atlantic waves of the North Coast.
Chief Executive of Sport Northern Ireland, Antoinette McKeown, commented: “The Equality Standard provides our local sporting organisations with the adequate support to open sport up to all sections of the community. Promoting equality of access to sport is one of Sport Northern Ireland’s key priorities. I am delighted to support the purchase of the tandem surfboards, they are a great, safe way, to introduce beginners to the world of surfing and hopefully inspire life-long enjoyment in the sport.”
Caro-lynne Ferris, Executive Director at Outdoor Recreation NI commented; “We are delighted to have received this funding from Sport Northern Ireland. Autism Initiatives NI and Alive Surf School have set up a fantastic programme and the inclusion of these new boards will be sure to guarantee it success in the future.”
For more information on Autism Initiatives Surf School, please visit www.ai-ni.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org