Breaking the Barrier

Breaking the Barrier addresses the very real need for sporting opportunities that cater for children and young adults with learning disabilities to enjoy alongside their families.

Lifeworks has been running Breaking the Barrier for over 12 years and over that time have hosted over 1,339 learning disabled young people.

Breaking the Barrier was created not to provide formal lessons, but rather to offer the thrill of experiencing surfing and where possible, standing on a surfboard as it catches a wave, with a specialist instructor riding in tandem.

Paralympian David Hill - BTB 2017
Click to see the Full Gallery.
Surfing 2017 - Triathlon Event
Trampolining 2017 - Triathlon Event
Surfing 2017 - Triathlon Event
Surfing 2016 - Saunton
Surfing 2017 - Triathlon Event
Surfing 2017 - Triathlon Event
Surfing 2017 - Triathlon Event
Click to see the Full Gallery.

Breaking the Barrier 2018

This year 2018 over 75 volunteers have helped make it happen: from Surfers Collectives (the Saunton Hotdoggers) to Community Samba Bands (ROC samba), from Corporate funders (JLT) who have been rolling up their sleeves every year for 6 years to volunteer on the events to public service professionals (Torbay Council  & Devon County Council) who exchange suits for wetsuits and rash vests and this year brought their children to help too. We also had in the water help from the Wave Project who support learning disabled young people to surf all year round and the Turning Tides Band who came all the way from credtion to provide a wonderful musical interlude on the beach. We had mums braving the elements to fit lots and lots of buoyancy aids to cycling experts, the Velopark Veterans, and the wonderful WESC Foundation who brought their fantastic accessible cycles all the way from Exeter to make this event even more accessible than last year.

Breaking the Barrier 2018 was supported by Santander, JLT and the Totnes Rotary. Their support has enabled 139 learning disabled young people age 8 and over to cycle and surf with 67 parents and siblings enabled by 74 volunteers, 2 cycle instructors from British cycling and 1 performance artist funded by the Branchline Partnership.


Last year with a lot of help from our adventure sports partners and volunteers we created the Breaking the Barrier Toolkit. our aim was to help community groups and schools wanting to take up outdoor pursuits with learning disabled young people become more confident. –  Click on the Image to access the Toolkit.

Feedback from Participants 

“The event and everyone there, from volunteers to caterters were extraordinary” Parent 2018

“Thank you for today and all the wonderful things you all do for the children. We are so pleased to have found you guys – T has had the best summer and he so looks forward to the next.” Parent 2017

“Our son loves the surfing events. He loves being on or in the water. The volunteers are always amazing. Thank you!”

“Thank you everyone for your time and energy organising the cycling today – shame about the British weather!! He managed 101 laps and came home very pleased with himself!!”

“Thank you for a fab day, we had a fantastic time, so much so he hired a board and went back in on Sunday. All the staff and volunteers were amazing with him and he felt totally safe at all times. A truly amazing experience.”

We hope to post our dates for next year in the spring of 2019. Watch this space…


Or To find out more about how you can get involved please contact Sarah-Jane Lowson

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 01803 861 060