We are thrilled to have received a grant of £9,500 to support the work of our Dance Leaders with learning disabilities as the UK follows the roadmap out of lockdown.
Funding from the National Lottery Awards for All will enable us to safely adapt as we return to face-to-face dance sessions in the community after 14 months of offering dance sessions online via Zoom and YouTube.
DanceSyndrome supports many vulnerable adults across Lancashire, and beyond, many of whom have been shielding during the pandemic. The DanceSyndrome team adapted quickly in the early stages of the pandemic to offer online dance sessions via Zoom and YouTube. We wanted to limit the impact of isolation on participants and continue to make them feel a part of our “dancing family”. We took our pre-lockdown workshops online to bring the sessions to regular participants and anyone else who wanted to use them to stay active at home during isolation. The sessions have been a real success, attracting new participants from across the UK, and even as far as Europe, South Africa and the USA! There are now 15 sessions a week running and many of these will continue after lockdown ends.
The National Lottery Awards for All funding will help the DanceSyndrome team to add to the current weekly programme and start moving back to face to face activities. Step 3 of the government roadmap is allowing the “DS Collective” performance group to meet outdoors in Miller Park, Preston. Their first session on Wednesday 19th May was the first time they have been together as a full group since March 2020. Understandably after all this time, the dancers are thrilled to be able to get back together as a full team of 26, after only dancing in small groups of 6 in the summer of 2020. DanceSyndrome Founder Jen Blackwell said “It was incredible to see my dancing family reunited! Absolutely incredible. It was very special to be together, united as one big dancing family. What a special experience to be in the outside world. And the sun was shining! Yahoo!”
The funding provided by The National Lottery Awards For All will bridge the gap between the online sessions, to outdoor dance and then, at step 4 of the roadmap, regular group workshops in community venues. The aim is to ensure that participants can still access creative activity in one form or another, even if they are still cautious about lockdown easing.
DanceSyndrome MD Dawn Vickers said, “As a small local charity, DanceSyndrome has had to adapt quickly and creatively at every stage of the pandemic and funding like this has enabled us to do that. Many of our participants face barriers in all aspects of their life and at DanceSyndrome we pride ourselves on removing as many of those barriers as we can. We know many people have found it difficult to use the technology needed to dance online and may still not feel comfortable going back to indoor sessions because they are vulnerable. We need to make sure that nobody is excluded and everyone who wants to can still access physical dance activities in a format that works for them, to help them maintain good physical and mental health. We are thrilled that we are able to expand this vital work thanks to this funding!”