At DanceSyndrome we are always proud of the fact that we offer a great support network to our participants and do all we can to prevent social isolation – so much so that our dancers refer to us as their “Dancing Family”. The last two weeks and the developing Coronavirus situation have been tough for us all as we are usually in each other’s company so often and we love to be together. So we wanted to share with you how we are all pulling together to support each other.
Once the decision was taken to close our weekly sessions on Tuesday 17th March, our team immediately started working on ways to maintain the vital connections that we have with our dancers. Our Dance Leaders (many of whom are people with learning disabilities) drive everything that we do and they told us they wanted to keep dancing and, as always, we were led by them.
Becky Rich even started filming herself delivering participatory dance in her own home in the meantime! Well done to her dad Simon for joining in!
Our Dance Artists set to work developing a way to deliver every single one of our usual sessions using an online platform and, most importantly, working out how the workshops would still be co-led by people with learning disabilities. It was decided that YouTube and Facebook would be the best way to do this and that, in the interest of not excluding anyone, these sessions should be free. The end result is fully inclusive dance sessions that are edited together to combine videos of the Dance Leaders and Dance Artists leading the workshops from their own homes.
This proved easier for Jen and David than for the others as they have gone into isolation together, with David providing PA support to Jen. They were able to film their sessions together in the same room, but the dancing didn’t stop there! They were also determined to #CarryOnDancing in any way that they could!
Posted by David Andrew Darcy on Monday, 23 March 2020
We’re all so proud of how our team have responded – this is a positive, innovative and inclusive response to a very challenging situation. (See this open letter from our MD Dawn Vickers for more information).
The support we are offering to our “Dancing Family” doesn’t end there though. Our dancers are all supporting each other via WhatsApp. They are sharing photos and videos of themselves participating in our online activities as well as sharing non-dance related ideas for looking after your health and wellbeing via this group and are cheering each other on through this hard time!
— DanceSyndrome (@DanceSyndrome) March 23, 2020
Peter has been busy painting – his first painting was the DS logo!
Everyone has been getting fresh air – in line with government guidance of course! But they have also been colouring, gardening, baking, exercising, resting and planning for the future too!
To help other people to maintain good physical and mental health, we have compiled a list of some useful resources that you can use to stay well during the Coronavirus outbreak (links in purple).
Meet N Match are another local charity providing social events for people with learning disabilities to meet and form relationships. Obviously this is difficult at the moment, but they are coming up with innovative ideas for online events, starting with this virtual pub quiz!
Advice from Rethink Mental Health about how to stay well during self-isolation.
Every Mind Matters is online mental health support provided by the NHS.
This site has a list of virtual museum tours and zoo cameras to recreate a family day out from your home!
Chatterpack is a website that provides resources for parents of children with SEND. They have some great recent blogs that have ideas for keeping busy during these difficult times.
Books Beyond Words have created a guide to Coronavirus for people with learning disabilities. This easy read book has been produced with help from PHE and the NHS to ensure the message is consistent.
There is also a growing resource library for people who support people with learning disabilities on this link
We’re happy to add to this list if you have any suggestions.
If you would like to support DanceSyndrome’s work at this time, we would be very grateful – as we are no longer running our sessions or attending events our income has dramatically dropped as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak. You can donate directly using the form below or find out more about other ways to donate on the Fundraising page of this site.