Inclusive Youth Dance Classes
A story by Indepen-dance
Indepen-dance provided an inclusive dance class for 1 hour every Saturday morning in Clydebank for up to 25 children with learning disabilities, to have the opportunity to experience a dance activity suited to their needs while their parents have a short break from their caring role.
What Inclusive Youth Dance Classes did
Indepen-dance provided a weekly creative dance class for 42 weeks for disabled children and young people each Saturday morning from 11am - 12noon at St Peter Apostle High School, Clydebank. This class was facilitated by an inclusive staff team by that we mean a disabled staff member and a non disabled staff member, our staff team are fully trained in inclusive dance practice to ensure that the class is fully accessible to people with a variety of disabilities.
This class has been running for a number of years and has good regular attendance, to ensure that we run at a good level of capacity the class is promoted on our website and on our Facebook page, our staff promote this class via word of mouth at a variety of sector promotional events such as the annual Ability Fest and local information days.
The unusual occurrence about this class in particular is that some of the parents and cares join in with the class, it's not something that we promote and for this specific funded class have tried to encourage the parents/carers to take a break but the parents/carers have told us that they enjoy taking part and want to share this activity with their child. We're not sure if its because the class is on a Saturday and is often traditionally as seen as family time. Our creative movement classes for young people held during the week have very few parents participating in comparison.
The parents and carers have said that they get enjoyment from the class themselves and want to take part. They know that they have the opportunity to leave the class but choose not too. For the parents/carers that don't take part they tend to go off and have a short break in a cafe.
What Indepen-dance has learned
As previously mentioned this class has been in our core programme of activities for a number of years, it was originally funded by West Dunbartonshire Council. Unfortunately due to cut backs in budgets within the department we dealt with, we were in a dilemma as to how we could continue to keep the class running. At this point parents and carers were very concerned that the weekly class would continue, the class has a weekly charge but this doesn't cover all the costs required to run the class.
With the funding from the Short Breaks Fund Better Breaks programme we were able to continue this weekly class, which provides a unique activity for the children and young people who regularly attend. It's often at the point when you think your going to lose something when you realise how much it means to people, the parents overwhelming response to the service we provide reminded our organisation the importance of the service we provide to people who are often excluded from mainstream arts activities.
How Indepen-dance has benefitted from the funding
The Better Breaks funding has been a life line for us to continue a service which is tried and tested at a time where due to cut backs in the council could have impacted on this provision. Having the funding from Better Breaks has enabled us to ensure this class continues on a regular basis's for the benefit of the participants and their family members. The continuation of this class has been extremely important to those attending.
A number of disabled children and young people will have had opportunities to take part in our weekly creative movement session which are fun, stimulating and enjoyable.
We have achieved the outcome as set out at the beginning of the project by providing a regular weekly creative movement session specifically for young people and children to take part in a weekly activity with is great fun, stimulating and enjoyable.
One of our regular weekly class attendees who has Autism has found it really challenging to take part in group activities, socialising with others and taking part in activities that involve sensory experiences. This attendee has taken over a year to take part in our weekly creative, participating fully in the full session, to support this it helps that he wears ear defenders throughout the session to minimise the noise in the session, it took a considerable amount of time to work out how we could tailor the session for the attendee to get maximum benefit from the activity, the attendee has now settled into the routine of the weekly session and doing really well, his mum is really pleased with his progress and is really pleased that her son is managing to socialising with others.