Cornwall LivingIssue #135

Under the surface

Dive Project Cornwall provides an education programme and experience opportunity, raising awareness of the importance of the planet’s marine environment.

Alongside Dive Project Cornwall’s education project, which is available to all secondary schools and can be accessed via its informative website, a base has now been established at Porthkerris in Cornwall, where schools from all over the UK are invited to become familiar with the ocean. This experience opportunity takes the form of a competition which gives 400 teenagers the chance of winning a six-day, life-changing trip to Cornwall to learn to scuba dive. The hope is that the children then go on to be Ocean Influencers, acting positively to engage, inspire and motivate the next generation in a bid to save the planet.

The lucky teenagers are put through an immersive ocean-based education programme that they will take out into the world to improve everyone’s understanding of the fragility of the oceans. At the end of June 2022, Dive Project Cornwall ran the first pilot week, introducing 20 students from Sir James Smith School, Cornwall, to a week of scuba diving and marine conservation, officially becoming the very first group of Ocean Influencers! 

“It was a proud moment for everyone involved,” says Founder, Andrew Forster, “to finally bring together all the elements to create this life-changing experience. As Ed McGuffie, Deputy Head told us, the children have returned as completely different individuals, becoming more confident and resilient with a new set of life-skills. To be a part of such an integral change in a young person’s life is hugely inspiring for us and we can’t wait to share these experiences with our other winning schools.”

Head of Diving for Dive Project Cornwall, Darren Sutton explains further: “We have a superb team here at Porthkerris – many of whom are volunteers – and we’re very fortunate to have a raft of incredible and tirelessly supportive sponsors and partners. From PADI Scuba Diving and the Marine Conservation Society, to Falmouth Marine School and Porthkerris Dive Centre to name just a few, it’s been wonderful to witness everybody coming together in their shared desire to deliver the ambitious goals of the project. One school that we recently hosted have already returned home and set up an environmental group to champion the welfare of our seas. As the adage goes, ‘every little helps’, and if we can inspire a generation of Ocean Influencers to respect, love and cherish the ocean, that will surely drive the passion needed to protect it.”