Funding for disability surf centre agreed

AN ocean therapy charity has praised the government after it secured funding to build a disability surf centre in St Ouen’s Bay.

A computer generated image of how the plans for the surf centre could look. Photo: Socrates Architects
A computer generated image of how the plans for the surf centre could look. Photo: Socrates Architects

Dominic Booth, co-founder of Healing Waves, said the £411,000 grant from the government’s Fiscal Stimulus Fund was a ‘massive step’ in the right direction for the charity and showed that the government was committed to helping the disabled.

However, he admitted there was still ‘some way’ to go until the plans came to fruition.

The charity, which provides safe access to the sea for disabled Islanders through a variety of water sports, recently submitted plans to build the centre at Le Braye car park.

The plans, which were designed by Nick Socrates, of Socrates Architects, include a sedum roof, featuring a layer of vegetation designed to make the building fit in with the surrounding landscape of the Coastal National Park.

Mr Booth said the charity was ‘shocked’ when they received the grant, but admitted it would go a long way to helping them achieve their plans.

‘It is great that the government have seen our vision for the centre. If the government have faith in the project then hopefully the planning department will too,’ he said.

As part of the plans, the centre would provide a permanent base to hold the charity’s adaptive surf equipment and would include disabled changing facilities for its members.

He added: ‘We help so many people to get in the water and it only recently hit home how much we need this centre. We were doing a session out in the cold and rainy weather and it showed how much nicer it would be if our athletes had somewhere to keep warm and change rather than getting dressed out in the cold.'

Mr Booth said the funding would also allow the charity to refocus its fundraising efforts.

‘It takes a lot of strain off us as we were originally going to raise the money ourselves. We will continue with our plans for the year, but any money we raise ourselves could now be put towards some new equipment or other things to go in the centre once its built,’ he said.

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