A TEENAGE carer from Newquay has qualified as an International Surfing Association surf instructor after volunteering at a surfing project where she was once a client.
Now 16, Ebony Cave spent most of her early teenage years caring for her uncle David, who had Down's syndrome, and had little time to meet people or enjoy her favourite hobby, surfing.
In September 2011 the county's Young Carers Service referred her to the Wave Project, a not-for-profit company that aims to help young people gain confidence to meet challenges in their lives through surfing, and undertook a six-week free course.
"I used to surf quite a lot when I was younger, but as I became a young carer I had a limited amount of time to do it," she said.
"I was referred on to the Wave Project and loved it straight away. It was really good fun. All the volunteers who worked with me were really supportive and encouraging."
After completing the course, Ebony decided to volunteer at the project so she could help other young people: "I saw what an effect it had on myself and other people, and I wanted to give something back.
"I wanted to help some of the other clients feel as happy and as encouraged as I was. I felt like I was part of a little community of surfers helping other people."
Ebony now has to complete a further 20 hours of surf coaching as a volunteer to become fully qualified and says she plans to reach her target by continuing to volunteer with the Wave Project during the spring before she completes her GCSEs later this year.