SURFWELL, a Devon and Cornwall Police workplace programme that uses surfing therapy to improve the mental well being and resilience of emergency services staff has featured in the highly respected BBC documentary series, We Are England.

Broadcasting across South West regions yesterday evening on BBC One and then afterwards on iPlayer, the Surfwell team filmed the documentary over a number of days last summer.

The programme demonstrates just how much of a positive impact Surfwell has had on its participants, who range from officers and staff in Devon and Cornwall Police to other blue light workers from emergency services based across the country.

The documentary features a number of participants who tell their stories and take part in Surfwell for the first time.

Sergeant James Mallows founded the programme alongside his colleague, Sergeant Sam Davies.

He said: ‘We are very proud that the BBC wanted to feature Surfwell on We Are England and follow the journeys of the participants. The documentary shows how a number of physiological and neurological changes can occur when participants overcome a challenge in a natural environment within a cold-water setting.

‘The effect of these external stimuli are powerful in themselves, but when combined with the support provided by peers who have lived experience within the emergency services, the effects can be long lasting and life changing.

‘The Surfwell programme has been evidenced through independent assessment to provide significant organisational benefits.

‘I would encourage everyone to watch the episode to understand the impact of working in emergency services, the impact that cold water therapy has on the mental health of the participants and the many benefits of the programme.’

A participant that recently took part in the programme said: ‘I believe the investment the Force has made by facilitating my place with Surfwell has paid dividends. I am not only back at work full time, but I feel like I am the best officer I have been in years.’

Another said: ‘I can't quite believe the profound positive effect it has had on me mentally and physically. I was medicated for anxiety, burnt out and exhausted. I now have a completely new outlook on how I can manage my mental wellbeing.’

To find out more about Surfwell visit or follow them on Twitter @opsurfwell.