Everyone at DanceSyndrome is celebrating after our Founders were announced as the winners of a national business award at the high-profile Best Businesswoman Awards ceremony in London.
Jen and Sue Blackwell were announced as winners of the Charity Champion Award at the Best Businesswomen Awards which took place on Friday 30th September at The Hilton, Wembley. The Charity Champion Award celebrates a female founder of a charity that has had a huge impact on its service users. As a result of being chosen as winners, the awards organisers are committed to fundraising for DanceSyndrome for the following year, providing much needed financial support for a small, local charity.
— Best Business Women (@bbwomenawards) September 30, 2022
DanceSyndrome was formed by Jen, with support from her mum Sue, because they found it difficult to find opportunities in community dance that were accessible to Jen and other people with learning disabilities. We work across the North West with the ethos that disability should never be a barrier to following your dreams. All DanceSyndrome sessions are disability led, with people with learning disabilities taking visible Dance Leader roles to inspire people to see what can be achieved when society is more inclusive.
As well as winning at the Best Businesswoman Awards, Jen has also recently been a finalist in the Charity of the Year category at the Enterprise Vision Awards and has also been nominated for the HER-Abilities Award at the upcoming She Inspires Awards in November.
Speaking about the award nominations, Jen said “I’m honoured to have been nominated for not one, or two but three awards this year! Being nominated for these awards shows that people with learning disabilities can do amazing things with their lives if given a chance. Dancing is my life, I am passionate about dance and about supporting people like me to have opportunities in the dance world.”
Jen’s mum, Sue Blackwell, DanceSyndrome’s Chairperson, said “‘I am incredibly proud to be the co-founder of DanceSyndrome alongside my daughter Jen and husband Malcolm. Being recognised, respected and valued for the person you are is a human right but not always afforded to a person with a learning disability. Awards are one way to redress that, especially awards like this where a person with a learning disability is able to compete with people without a disability on a level playing field, decided purely on the vision, determination and focus of the individual. As Jen’s mum, I am delighted that her vision is affording opportunities to others equally passionate about dance and challenging and changing perceptions of people with learning disabilities.”
DanceSyndrome Managing Director, Julie Nicholson, said “It’s incredible now to see so much recognition for the work that Jen and the rest of the DanceSyndrome team have been doing to support people with learning disabilities. DanceSyndrome’s main aim is to empower people with learning disabilities to succeed in the dance sector and to help society to see what can be achieved when people are given the right support to follow their dreams. Being nominated for these awards helps us to raise the profile of people with learning disabilities and celebrate their achievements.”
The award nominations came through following a number of other recent successes for our charity. We have had high profile TV appearances on ITV’s Vick Hope’s Breakfast Show and Channel 4’s Steph’s Packed Lunch, alongside Strictly’s 2021 winner, Giovanni Pernice. DanceSyndrome was also recently awarded funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK. We will receive almost £180,000 to continue our inspirational work to use dance as a medium to empower and make positive changes for people living with learning disabilities.