DanceSyndrome is thrilled to have received a grant of £5,000 to support online dance sessions provided by our Dance Leaders with learning disabilities during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Community Fund for Lancashire, who provided the grant from their Lancashire COVID-19 Community Support Fund, are an independent charity that promotes local giving to address local disadvantage. Since 2007, they have distributed in excess of £13 million to charities and community groups in Lancashire.
DanceSyndrome is a multi-award winning dance charity that delivers inclusive dance workshops and dance leadership training, as well as inspiring performances that demonstrate a focus on ability rather than disability. The charity was founded by Jen Blackwell, who happens to have Down’s syndrome, because she found it difficult to find opportunities in community dance due to her disability. Our ethos is that disability should never be a barrier to following your dreams. Dancers with and without disabilities work together to inspire people to see what can be achieved when we all become more inclusive.
We support many vulnerable adults across Lancashire who are currently shielding due to the COVID-19 outbreak. At present, it is unclear when people will be able to return to their regular community dance sessions so we had to adapt quickly and with a view to online sessions becoming the norm for most of 2020. Our team wanted to limit the impact of isolation on participants and continue to make them feel a part of what they refer to as “the dancing family”. We decided to take the workshops online using Facebook, YouTube and Zoom to bring the sessions to regular participants and anyone else who wanted to use them to stay active at home during isolation. The Facebook and YouTube sessions are free to access and the Zoom sessions have a low charge of £2.50. The funding provided by Community Fund for Lancashire is subsidising the running costs of the sessions for 12 weeks and enabling us to focus on the future.
Rae Brooke, Chief Executive for the Community Foundation for Lancashire, said: “The Lancashire COVID-19 Community Support Fund has distributed more than £650,000 through 165 grants to frontline community groups and charitable organisations supporting the most vulnerable.
“DanceSyndrome, who are providing a vital lifeline for local people with learning disabilities during the lockdown, are amongst the many incredible organisations that have been supported. We know that the detrimental impact of this emergency will be evident over the long term and to enable us to continue supporting the work of groups like DanceSyndrome we are calling on those able to do so to donate to the Lancashire COVID-19 Community Support Fund.”
DanceSyndrome MD Dawn Vickers said, “At DanceSyndrome we empower adults with learning disabilities to gain skills not just for dancing and dance leadership but for living independent lives. It has been so hard for our participants and our team members to not have that face to face contact that is such a positive part of their lives. The online sessions we are offering bridge that gap as best we can and provide a lifeline at a time of significant isolation. We are proud that this grant will benefit many learning-disabled adults whilst giving peace of mind to their families and loved ones at a very challenging time.”
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