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Wave Project Beach School

Lavigne Lonsdale are thrilled to have been appointed by Joe Taylor, founder and CEO of the Wave Project to lead the design, for what is believed to be, the world’s first beach school for vulnerable young people.

The Wave Project is a charity providing ‘surf therapy’ courses for young people and is funded by a government health service. This is an organisation that has proven that introducing people to the experience of surfing can improve self-esteem, with added health and well-being benefits. Children of all ages can attend these free sessions and the results are remarkable with participants feeling calmer, less angry and more connected to each other, as well as growing in confidence. The first beach school is to provide much needed facilities in close proximity to Gwithian beach to enable the charity to continue its services to the community.

The beach school is an evidence-based intervention that combines outdoor learning and surfing with innovative schemes of work that help children to re-engage with the idea of learning. Children usually come to beach school for one full day per week in normal school time. This gives children a break from school and helps them to reset their thinking about learning. At the beach school, children will spend most of the day in their wetsuits and learn outside, on the beach and in the sea. Lessons are devised to incorporate the natural environment in the pupils’ learning. The beach school facility at Gwithian would enable the course to be delivered to up to 75 children each week (15 per day).

Andrew Walker, the lead Designer of this innovative facility, felt it was about designing a building that doesn’t feel ‘institutional’ like a typical school. The building needs to provide an alternative educational environment giving the children a sense of escapism from their everyday struggles, while also meeting the operational needs of the charity. The design of the beach school incorporates local natural materials to create an aesthetic that feels "of the place" and help to create a natural “beachy” coastal feel to reflect the local environment. The farmstead cluster arrangement of the site plan provides an enclosed external courtyard, that allows children to feel safe whilst playing outdoors.

A detailed planning application will be submitted soon.

To listen to Andrew and Joe discussing the project, take a look at the recent ITV coverage.


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