A charity which helps vulnerable children in Africa change their lives through surfing has forged further links with North Devon.

Surfers Not Street Children works with vulnerable children in South Africa and Mozambique.Surfers Not Street Children works with vulnerable children in South Africa and Mozambique.

Surfers Not Street Children is a charity founded by street children's activist and surfer, Tom Hewitt MBE, and has a UK base in Braunton.

A life-long surfer, Mr Hewitt relocated to South Africa in his late teens. After working 'in the field' with street children in Africa, he arrived in Durban in 1997 to find no coherent strategy to help those most at risk and decided to act.

A year later he founded the Durban Street Team, now known as Surfers Not Street Children.

In its current format, Surfers Not Street Children has been working with vulnerable children and young adults since 2012. Recognising the intrinsic therapeutic value of surfing, the staff - made up of trained professionals and trained former street children - combine learning to surf with mentorship and psychosocial care.

The goal is to empower the children it works with to leave the streets behind for good and become independent, supporting individuals even when they have found employment to ensure that they don't find themselves at risk again.

There are three main programs in Durban to support vulnerable children. The Surf Club offers daily surfing and a life-skills curriculum for children, while the Surf House mentors and prepares young people into adulthood.

Finally the Independent Living Program is for Surf House graduates, who are assisted to find their own accommodation.

The Surfers Not Street Children team, which counts Prince Harry and Pope Francis amongst its supporters, has helped to change the lives of approximately 1,800 vulnerable children to date - through the power of surfing.

Mr Hewitt said: "Surfers Not Street Children has always had close ties with North Devon. Local surfers like British Pro Junior Champion Will Bailey and bespoke joiner and surfer, Martin Edwards have volunteered time in South Africa with the organisation. Croyde's Peony Knight has vested the work in Durban on her travels on the World Surfing Tour.

"Surfers Not Street Children UK now has a streamlined UK office in Braunton (SNSC UK) with two people, and it's where I work out of when alternating between Africa and the UK.

"The aim of the UK office is twofold: it is the global advocacy arm of the organisation and also develops support networks for the programmes in South Africa and Mozambique."

The charity has teamed up with North Devon outdoor clothing company Dryrobe, which has launched a limited edition version of its leading changing robe. A percentage of each sale will go towards supporting the work changing robe.

Mr Hewitt added: "We are super stoked to be in partnership with Dryrobe. It is awesome to find partners with shared values and we absolutely love their product and have been using their robes in the program for some time. Thank you to Dryrobe for their support and encouragement."