Across The Board Surf School


Well, we've not been idle during these chilly winter months!  We've been securing loads more funding for all our wonderful Surf School members so we can carry on again this year with even more dates and even more members!!

7th May saw us very proudly collect a Community Action Award of £750!  We won first place in the Children & Young People's category and were overall runner up in all the other categories!! Apparently we were 'unique'!!  We certainly are!!

(Surf School volunteers Simon Hughes & Kathy Chillistone at the back with group co-ordinators Claire Collins & Katie Bond at the front)

April, and we were selling cakes at St Mary's hospital for our Easter Bake Sale and thanks to all those who helped out and made cakes for the day, we raised over £200!  Proving what we already knew - no-one can say no to cake!!

(Katie increasing cakes sales ten-fold with her beautiful smile!)

And not forgetting the incredibly generous donation of a whopping £1,000 from the fabulous Wight Strollers who even put on a special Autism friendly performance of their panto Robinson Crusoe!  We can't thank you enough WS!

(Photo courtesy of Wight Strollers)

About Across the Board...

We chose the name ‘Across the Board’ as, when we looking up the word ‘inclusion’ in a thesaurus, it gave the description of ‘across the board’; we felt this was perfect!

We felt surfing gave individuals with autism the opportunity to take part in an activity along with non autistic people seamlessly, hence ‘inclusion’ being strong on our agenda. We hope that the surf club will always endeavour to be an activity open to members and their families and friends.

Surfing has been shown to have a therapeutic affect for people with Autistic Spectrum Conditions as well as being great fun! We provide support, information and use symbols and social stories to make sure people feel comfortable surfing and are well prepared for the different sensations. For some people putting on a wetsuit for the first time can be a challenging experience!

The group is organised by Katie Bond and Claire Collins who are parent volunteers and committee members of the National Autistic Society Isle of Wight Branch. In 2012 we supported 32 young people to try surfing, many for the first time and found it to be very beneficial for social skills as well as making friends, building confidence and creating a sense of achievement. We work in partnership with Chris Mannion from ISurf as our Surf Instructor, and many keen volunteers. We have been able to organise these sessions thanks to the wonderful fundraising activities of the branch, and the continued support of our volunteers.

We provide 3 sessions throughout the day, a junior group for younger children, a smaller specialist session to assist those that need 1:1 support in the water and a senior session for teenagers. This year we also introduced adult sessions for the first time which proved to be hugely popular and will appear regularly on next summer's schedule!

Don't just take our word for its success though!  Check out some of our favourite photos in the slide show below!

(Photos and slideshow courtesy of Katie Bond)

If you are interested in signing up for this year's surf school then get in touch at: 

VAT registration number: 653370050; registered as a charity in England and Wales (269425) and in Scotland (SC039427) © The National Autistic Society 2014

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