Gulf War veteran supports silver surfers
First Gulf War veteran Rich Emerson, who suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder when he left the army, is being supported by ESF (European Social Fund) Convergence to run a surfing course for the over 50s to boost their confidence.
With the ESF support from Inclusion Cornwall via Cornwall Works 50+, the Surf Action, run by Rich and Russell Pierre course aims to restore or increase confidence in those taking part so they can stay in or progress into work.
Rich explained, “"Surf Action is about giving people a chance to experience the good vibes that come from being in and around the sea. People think of surfing as a young person's sport but its great for people of all ages and we're increasingly seeing silver surfers! No matter whether you've surfed before or are trying it for the first time it is great fun and good for both the mind and the body. For some people trying something new can be a great step to building their confidence. The thrill and the enjoyment are there for all and as a former world champion said: ‘The best surfer in the water is the one having the most fun!’”
Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Convergence Partnership Office for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said, “This course gets to the root of the problem for many people in work or wanting to find work – confidence. It offers those over 50 the chance to tackle a new activity and increases opportunities for change.”
Andrea Gilbert, project lead for Cornwall Works 50+ said, “Surf Action is one of a range of initiatives we are supporting through Cornwall Works 50+. It is great to have Rich on board, his dedication; talent and enthusiasm are an inspiration to others”
Rich, 44, understands the issues involved in confidence and finding employment. After serving with the Queen's Royal Irish Hussars as a tank crewman in 1991, during the first Gulf war in Iraq he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and couldn’t adjust to everyday life.
He drifted through a variety of jobs and a series of unsuccessful treatments for PTSD. Four years ago he got help via the Royal British Legion from the Combat Stress charity and Warrior programme. More recently he undertook the highly successful “Talking to Minds” course.
Understanding that there are many returning service personnel who suffer with PTSD Rich developed a programme of activity to help them, combining his passion and skill for surfing with relaxation and neuro linguistic programming techniques.
Rich has had support from surfing friends; the Pathways to Work programme and Cornwall Works for Social Enterprise ESF Convergence Programme that helped him to move off benefits and start Surf Action. The non profit making social enterprise offers activity days on Cornwall’s north coast beaches.
For further information:
Surf Action - Rich Emerson 07990 698020 or Russ Pierre 07989 535163.
Clare Morgan, Media Relations Manager, Convergence Partnership Office for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Tel: 01872 241379 / 07973 813647.
E mail: email@example.com
For further information see: www.convergencecornwall.com
Convergence helpline telephone: 0800 0280120.