Jen Blackwell, DanceSyndrome Founder and Director, was announced as one of the most influential people with a disability in the UK at a reception at the South Bank Centre on Wednesday 17 October.
The Shaw Trust Disability Power 100 List is an annual publication of the 100 most influential disabled people in the UK. More than 700 nominations were received for the 100 places. The Disability Power 100 List is compiled by an independent judging panel, chaired by Kate Nash OBE. Kate is the world’s leading authority in ‘Networkology’ – the science behind the growth of workplace networks and resource groups. In 2007 she was awarded an OBE for services to disabled people. In 2013 she was appointed Ambassador to Disability Rights UK.
DanceSyndrome was founded in 2009 by dancer Jen Blackwell, who happens to have Down’s syndrome, because she found it difficult to find opportunities in community dance due to her disability. DanceSyndrome’s 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.
Jen said: “Dancing is my life, I am passionate about dance and about supporting people like me to have opportunities in the dance world. Getting this recognition shows that people with learning disabilities can do amazing things with their lives if given a chance”
Nick Bell, Interim Chief Executive of Shaw Trust – a charity helping to transform the lives of young people and adults across the UK and internationally, said:
“Congratulations to Jen Blackwell. The judges were beyond impressed by the standard of nominations but selected the most influential people who are proving that disability or impairment is not a barrier to success. One of our aims for the Disability Power 100 list is to demonstrate to young people that they can achieve their ambitions. At Shaw Trust we work with government, local authorities and employers to support people overcome barriers which hold them back from achieving their potential.”
The full Shaw Trust Disability Power 100 List can be found on www.disabilitypower100.com, Jen features on page 40.