A DanceSyndrome performance

DanceSyndrome has been announced as one of 990 National Portfolio Organisations receiving a share of £446 million investment from Arts Council England’s 2023-26 Investment Programme to bring art, culture, and creativity to more people, in more places, across the UK.


A DanceSyndrome performanceDanceSyndrome was founded by Jen Blackwell, who has Down’s syndrome, because she found it difficult to find opportunities in community dance that were accessible to people with learning disabilities. DanceSyndrome’s ethos is that disability should never be a barrier to following your dreams. All DanceSyndrome sessions are disability led, with people with learning disabilities taking visible leadership roles to inspire people to see what can be achieved when we all become more inclusive.


DanceSyndrome has been granted £300,000 to use between 2023-2026 to deliver inclusive dance activities in areas of the UK which are a priority for Arts Council England. Our charity is one of two organisations in Hyndburn and only 15 in Lancashire to receive a share of £9,420,774 of funding allocated across Lancashire.


This funding is part of Arts Council England’s 10-year strategy, Let’s Create, to build a country transformed by creativity and culture which brings people together to be happier and healthier. Arts Council England are prioritising spending in arts, museums and libraries in villages, towns and cities where investment is currently low. Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle and Rossendale are part of their Levelling Up for Culture pledge.


DanceSyndrome is working in these priority areas, delivering a wide range of inclusive dance activities which empower people with disabilities. We provide weekly Everybody Dance workshops for people with and without disabilities to dance together, as well as leadership training in line with our unique co-delivery model – people with and without disabilities work together to offer high quality, inclusive dance provision. We also have a group of performance artists who work collaboratively to create new performances with a focus on changing the way people think about disability and demonstrating what people with disabilities are able to achieve.


Arts Council England Chief Executive, Darren Henley, said: “Together, each of the 990 organisations that have been offered funding today will contribute to a portfolio that is rich, varied and truly national. This is our widest ever spread of investment across the country, ensuring that many more people will have access to a wider choice of exceptional art, culture and creative opportunities on their doorsteps. We are in tough times but we must remember creativity brings with it extraordinary dividends, boosting our country’s economic growth, creating jobs, bringing communities closer together, and making us happier as individuals. Everyone deserves to enjoy the benefits it brings, and with this investment, we believe we’ve taken a decisive step towards making that vision a reality.”


DanceSyndrome Artistic Director, Sophie Tickle, said: “Everyone at DanceSyndrome is very proud that we have been chosen as part of the Arts Council’s next National Portfolio on the very first time we applied for it. This is incredible recognition for our work and it is wonderful to be featured alongside the most prestigious and high quality Arts organisations in the country. We want to pass out congratulations on to the other organisations that have been selected; there was so much competition this year and some incredible organisations missed out on funding, so we feel very privileged to have been successful.”


To hear the latest news about DanceSyndrome as it breaks, you can follow us at @DanceSyndromeUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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