Learning Disabilities & Autism News

DanceSyndrome celebrates after receiving £179,483 in National Lottery funding

DanceSyndrome, based in Lancashire, is celebrating today after being awarded £179,483 in funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.

DanceSyndrome is a multi-award-winning dance charity that was founded by Jen Blackwell, who happens to have Down’s syndrome. The charity was formed because Jen found it difficult to find opportunities in community dance that were accessible to people with learning disabilities. DanceSyndrome’s ethos is that disability should never be a barrier to following your dreams. All DanceSyndrome sessions are disability led, with people with learning disabilities taking visible Dance Leader roles to inspire people to see what can be achieved when we all become more inclusive.

DanceSyndrome will use their funding to empower and make positive changes for people with learning disabilities. They will deliver weekly dance sessions, accredited dance leadership training and inspiring performances that demonstrate the power of inclusion. The people who participate will gain independence, confidence, better communication and social skills and see improvements in their health and wellbeing. Through a shared love of dance, people will feel connected with their communities and become less isolated.

This new National Lottery funding will enable DanceSyndrome to grow their current provision which was reduced during lockdown. As well as enabling the charity to reach more weekly participants, it will enable them to train more dance professionals in inclusive practices, giving them the specific skills needed to make dance sessions accessible for everyone. It will also allow them to work with students and businesses outside of the dance sector to demonstrate the value of inclusion in practice in all aspects of life, not just dance.

National Lottery players raise over £30 million a week for good causes across the UK. The National Lottery Community Fund distributes a share of this to projects to support people and communities to prosper and thrive.

DanceSyndrome Managing Director, Julie Nicholson said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, this grant means that we can reach out to even more people and show them not only that dance is a powerful tool for building confidence, life skills and happiness, but also that everyone can be a leader in all activities in our society, regardless of whether they have a disability or not. We hope to build the foundations for a more inclusive society in the future, so, this funding will make a big difference to people’s lives.”

During the pandemic, in 2020 alone, The National Lottery Community Fund distributed almost £1 billion to charities and community organisations across the UK.

To find out more about DanceSyndrome’s sessions and how to join, visit www.dancesyndrome.co.uk

Edel Harris

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