A number of pictures of dancers arranged in the shape of a Christmas tree with the words "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year"

A number of pictures of dancers arranged in the shape of a Christmas tree with the words "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year"

A very BIG Thank You & Season’s Greetings from DanceSyndrome


2023 has been another incredible year for DanceSyndrome and as we bring it to a close, we have one final request for our supporters. You may have seen earlier this year that we made a really powerful film about the importance of co-production in our work. This film is an entrant in the Charity Film Awards and needs to pass a public vote to get through to the next round. Please could we ask you to vote for the film on this Charity Film Awards voting page and, if possible, share the pinned posts on our Facebook, Instagram, X and LinkedIn pages? We hope that, with your support, we might be able to announce another award win next year!

One of our biggest pieces of news in 2023 was award related. Our inspirational Founder Jen Blackwell celebrated in June when she was announced as the recipient of a British Empire Medal for Services to Disabled People in the first ever Kings Honours. What a remarkable achievement! Everyone at DanceSyndrome is incredibly proud of Jen and, also, Dance Artist Donna Wheeldon, who also received a prestigious national award in October. Donna was given a Chief Nurses Award from Deborah Sturdy, Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care in England at the Department for Health and Social Care in recognition of her dedication to her role as Lead Carer for Jen.

Becky Rich, DanceSyndrome Spokesperson and Ambassador, has also had many successes this year, with a trip to 10 Downing Street being a big highlight for her! Becky was invited to London as a Community Champion chosen by Hyndburn and Haslingden Member of Parliament Sara Britcliffe. Sara has since joined DanceSyndrome as an Ambassador and we have also welcomed Neil Darby (former Mayor of Preston) and professional dancer Giovanni Pernice as Ambassadors in 2023 too. We’re incredibly grateful for their support at a time when growing our profile is so fundamental to our future success.

To help with future growth, we have also seen some changes to our Board of Trustees this year. Malcolm Blackwell has been appointed as Chair of the Board and Louise Howitt takes on the role of Vice Chair. With a passion for inclusion, dance and transforming lives, both Malcolm and Louise bring an array of both strategic and hands-on experience and skills, and an ambition to reach more people with learning disabilities and to drive real impact.

This impact has been clearly seen in 2023, particularly through the start of our three-year funding as an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation. This is an ambitious project for a small team and we are incredibly proud to have been given this opportunity and to see the progress that each member of our team is making on a daily basis. We have also completed the first year of our National Lottery Community Fund grant, which has been a huge success and has allowed us to reach even more people with our community dance opportunities. We’ve been able to engage with over 3,500 people this year thanks to this project.

We have had some incredible performance opportunities in 2023, including performing at The Lowry Theatre to celebrate 10 years as a charity and a return to the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August! Getting out into communities, meeting the public and getting them dancing is what we love to do most and the outstanding feedback from these performances was a reminder of why the work that we do is so vital.

As we look to next year, partnership working will play a key role in 2024. At the end of this year, we have successfully launched the DanceSyndrome Kitemark as part of our commitment to social replication and we have signed up the first organisation to collaborate with us in this way. We have also been working on some vital projects with different teams within the NHS and are excited to continue these projects into 2024 to ensure that people with learning disabilities are fully supported to live fulfilled lives, contribute to society and be visible leaders, performers, and advocates.

We certainly have a lot to look forward to in 2024! We’ll see you then! Thanks for your support this year.

CategoryBlog, News
Copyright © 2019 DanceSyndrome - Web Design by Illustrate.

Follow us: