Matt Hancock has given his backing to a new surfing therapy initiative that supports youngsters in Cornwall.
The Health Secretary donned a wetsuit and took to the waves at Towan Beach in Newquay to see first-hand how The Wave Project works.
The scheme supports young people with their mental health by teaching them to surf.
Mr Hancock, who was joined by St Austell and Newquay MP Steve Double, praised the scheme for making use of Cornwall’s “amazing” beaches.
“It was really nice to see the kids growing in confidence when they’re out surfing and these things can help our mental health,” he said.
“We all know being outdoors helps and here in Cornwall, with these amazing beaches, it’s great to use all of the things that we’ve got at our disposal.”
The NHS is the first Government health service in the world to fund surfing as a way of improving mental health.
The Wave Project was set up in 2010 with the aim of improving the wellbeing and confidence of young people who experience mental health issues or social exclusion.
The group offers youngsters a dedicated six-week course of one-to-one surfing support, followed by opportunities to join a social club.
Joe Taylor, founder and CEO at The Wave Project, added: “It was a huge honour to welcome the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to experience the benefits of surf therapy first-hand.
“We’re proud to be the first charity to offer surfing on prescription via the NHS, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with NHS trusts going forward as part of the broader focus on social prescribing services.”