Creative Dance Residency Camp: Weekend Trip
A story by Indepen-dance
Better Breaks funding supported a weekend trip to Inverness for our disabled youth dance company members, a three day daily dance residency during the October break and four one full day events performing and attending various festivals.
What Creative Dance Residency Camp: Weekend Trip did
Our young disabled members attended the YDance Destinations Youth Dance Platform, our youth group members were away from home for 2 evenings, this took place over a weekend in May 2022, this event went really well, we stayed in a Travel lodge within walking distance of the theatre, our youth company members performed a new piece of dance they’d created earlier in the year to a large audience and got to meet other youth dance company members from across Scotland.
With our funding we also held a 3 day creative dance residency 10 – 4pm during the October school break, this should have been a five day event but due to staffing issues we were only able to run the event for 3 days. We also ran 4 x one day events for our youth company members from June – Sept 2022 as follows; Performing and attending the Solas Festival in Perth on the 18th June, Performing and attending the Doune the Rabbit Hole Festival 15th July, Attending a performance of Akram Khan’s Jungle Book at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre 27th August
Performing and visiting the Dundee V&A Michael Clark exhibition 3rd Sept
The later four day events allowed the parents of the disabled young people to drop off their child in the morning and have a full day and early evening break. All of the activities we planned and carried out where attended by our disabled young people who are part of our inclusive youth dance company.
Although this is not a direct partnership project we did take our youth group to attend YDance's Destination Youth Dance Platform in Inverness which was thoroughly enjoyed by our young disabled members, it's a great opportunity for them to meet other young dancers from across Scotland, perform in a Youth Dance Platform and generally just be away with friends and participate in a weekend activity.
Parents and carers completed short evaluations at the end of the activities and we know from the information they provided that the parents and carers do a variety of things for themselves, for example one of parents went to visit friends and stay overnight, others enjoy a leisure activity like going a walk, playing golf or just simply having time to go out with friends and family.
What Indepen-dance has learned
We have learnt that there is still a need for the service we deliver, many of the parents if not all tell us their young disabled children have a lack of opportunities to participate in an activity such as going away with their friends for the weekend. This would seem like an everyday event for young people but for those with a disability it continues to be challenging.
The project planning changed slightly from the time of writing the application to the delivering the project, this was due to staffing shortages from our organisation, we had planned to deliver a 5 day dance residency but instead we could only deliver a 3 day residency. We made up for this by taking our youth group members on four individual days out which ended up being really enjoyable.
Our project was specifically aimed at a set group of parents, those being parents of our inclusive youth company. On reflection we would like to start to open this up in future to others who are connected to our service. At the end of each of the planned projects we carry out evaluations which help us develop new short breaks activities this allows us to incorporate the ideas from our disabled young people. We also reflect on the feedback we get from parents and carers to help us design a project which supports both the parents and carers and the disabled young people.
Many of the projects that we plan and deliver involve other organisations, with this funded project in particular we worked with YDance, The Solas Festival, Doune The Rabbit Hole Festival and other dance organisations to support us to offer a variety of activities.
How Indepen-dance has benefitted from the funding
Receiving the Better Breaks Funding allows us to offer an additional service to our young disabled beneficiaries and in turn it offers additional support to the parents and carers by offering them an extended break from their role as carer. As this is not the core activity of our organisation but has been included in our programme for a few years now there is an expectation for our organisation to continue to provide this type of service for our young disabled members. As already mentioned many of the parents and carers tell us that there is a lack of opportunities for their young cared for person to attend residential activities and it is really beneficial for their child to have these experiences with their friends and have similar opportunities to their siblings. This continued funding has enable us to develop a new partnership with the Solas Festival who are keen to ensure that their festival is accessible to disabled people. The festival were delighted when we were successful with this year's Better Breaks bid to take our youth company members to experience the festival as a residential event.
Up to 15 young disabled young people will have more opportunities to have fun, develop friendships and participate in an inclusive dance activity suited to their needs.
The project outcome was fully achieved, 15 young disabled people had the opportunity to attend YDance's Youth Dance Platform in Inverness. Our young disabled dancers, performed at the event and stayed 2 nights in a Travel Lodge close to the venue they were performing in. On the way to and from Inverness the group enjoyed a meal in a Restuarant. The weather was really beautiful that weekend in May and all in all the group had a lovely time.
One of the young disabled group members who attended the weekend project was in the process of transitioning from living at home with both his parents to moving into supported accommodation. His mum was also going through a particularly challenging time as her own elderly mother had been ill and subsequently sadly passed away. Our disabled member's mum and dad were particularly fraught with dealing with both major life events. They wanted to use the residency to mark their son moving on from the group and have one last special experience with his other dance group members so this couldn't have came at a better time for their son and them. The residency also allowed their son some time away from the family home where things were difficult with the additional pressure of an elderly parent in palliative care.