Migrants hit the surf

Participants in the migrant program have fun at the beach.
Participants in the migrant program have fun at the beach.

A SPECIAL program designed by East Coast Surf School gave 18 residents, who are migrant refugees, the chance to experience something that many on the Coffs Coast take for granted – going for a swim and a surf.

Taking into consideration participants have no experience with water and the ocean, East Coast Surf School’s program provides a swimming lesson each day at the Coffs Harbour Memorial Swimming Pool, where the students learn initially to blow bubbles under the water and by the end of the week will be able to perform freestyle.

The surf lessons, with surf safety awareness and education, are also proving to be popular.

“These youths are very keen to learn about the water and ocean, as the Coffs Coast is their new home,” East Coast Surf School owner Helene Enevoldson said.

“By the end of this program they will be confident that they can swim and stay safe in different water environments.

“It is a privilege to teach such important life skills and we are passionate about such education. To run the program during Youth Week is an added bonus.”

Rita Langler, from St John’s Anglican Church in Coffs Harbour, applied for the funding, which was available through Anglicare North Coast. The program was such a huge success last year that it is hoped to be an annual event.

“It has been a long road to make this program happen. However, it’s well worth it,” Langler said.

“The young people are so keen to learn and participate, it is wonderful to see. I am witnessing lots of huge smiles.”

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