The social enterprise riding a wave.
The below interview with David Forsyth of Driftwood Surfboards first published on the-sse.org.
What does your social enterprise do?
Driftwood Surfboards run workshops in the production of sustainable surfboards providing woodwork and employability skills to NEETS. We work with out of work young people and build sustainable wooden surf boards, hand planes and skateboards. Our workshops provide team building, carpentry and other practical skills, helping with future prospects by putting people in a better position to gain qualifications and a job.
The majority of participants go on to learn to ride the surfboards they made – hopefully continuing the sport for the rest of their lives. Evidence increasingly shows that surfing can improve your emotional and physical wellbeing. Just being by the sea can relax the body and calm the mind, providing clarity in turbulent times.
What motivated you to start your social enterprise?
Leaving school there wasn’t much help available to find a job, I lost motivation and fell into a rut. Later I went to university and became interested in building wooden surfboards and noticed there was a crossover in transferable skills. I saw this as an opportunity to combine the design and manufacture of surf products with enriching the lives of the community.
I believe that there’s no better way to learn a skill or craft than by building an item you are truly interested in. For students not interested in building a standard bedside cabinet or jewellery box for their gran, this was the perfect opportunity to try something different.
Why are you passionate about this cause?
I think if a project like this was around for me it would have given the drive to get back into work or start university sooner. I hope to help someone to make something of their lives. I feel confident that the future is bright.
How has the School for Social Entrepreneurs supported you?
Being on the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme has really reinforced the importance of social enterprise. I’ve found it particularly valuable being in a group of like-minded individuals.
I think it’s great that Lloyds Bank has realised that social responsibility is so important in business, it leads the way for other organisations to find a way to do their part for the community.