Weekly Creative Movement Classes and One Dance Residency
A story by Indepen-dance
Indepen-dance received funding to support 5 x 1 hour weekly creative movement classes for children and young people with a learning disability over a period of 40 weeks and one 5 day creative dance residency for young people with a learning disability, providing a break for the parents and carers.
What Weekly Creative Movement Classes and One Dance Residency did
With the funding from the Better Breaks Indepen-dance delivered 5 weekly creative movement classes for young disabled people over a period of 40 weeks (4x10 week blocks) Each class lasted 1 hour and was delivered in the following days, times and locations, Glasgow class Tuesday 5.30 – 6.30 at SDTA, Park Rd, Glasgow, Wishaw class Tuesday 5.30 – 6.30 at The Pather Community Centre, Wishaw, Cumbernauld Class Thursday 6 -7 at The Link Community Centre, Cumbernauld
Kilmarnock Class Saturday 10.30 – 11.30 at Kay Park Church, Kilmarnock, Clydebank Class Saturday 11- 12 at St Peter Apostle's High School, Clydebank.
The weekly creative movement classes were attended by young people with learning and physical disabilities, they found out about our service via our website, Facebook page and other social media pages, our services is often recommended by community. Links officers, social work and ASN schools as well as word of mouth from parents of young disabled people.
The creative movement classes are attended by young disabled people who maybe excluded from participating in a dance activity in their local community. Our classes are designed to be inclusive for all abilities, fun and creative.
The second part of this project involved delivering a dance residency for our young disabled dancers who are part of our Youth Dance Company. The creative dance residency took place during the mid term school break in February 2019 and involved a professional choreographer and Good Vibrations, a Gamelan music initiative, the residency took place in Lochgoilhead Scout Camp.
As well as giving the parents and carers a break from the caring role of care, the young people got the opportunity to make a new piece of choreography and share this with their parents on their return, and has since then been performed at three different performance platforms. During both our project activities parents and carers have the opportunity to have a break from the caring role, with exception of our Clydebank class where many of the parents choose to join the dance activity sharing a creative activity with their child. The project has successfully recruited 4 young volunteers.
What Indepen-dance has learned
We are consistently reminded by parents that the service we provide on a regular basis is so important to their children, many parents say that they have found it difficult to find a dance class suited to the needs of their child, a place where they feel welcome and have a feeling of belonging to a group.
A recent conversation I had with a parent of one of our youth group is a great testament to what our service means to the participants. The mother told me that she had heard about a dance class for very young children that we run at Tramway each week called Dance Your Socks Off, she was looking for a class for her two young children. When she researched out organisation she quickly realised that maybe we'd be able to offer a service for her oldest son who has a disability, she said he had always loved to dance around the house but she had never been able to find a dance class for him that would suit his needs, her son attended the regular weekly dance classes for young people in Glasgow and it wasn't too long before he progressed into the Young 1'z which is our Youth Performance Company.
Her son went on his first dance residency in February this year, she explained that in one moment her prayers had been answered, since joining our youth company her son has performed with our youth company and been away from home during the mid term break with our youth company on the dance residency.
We will continue to apply for funding for our activities, as we know they are tried and tested but it doesn't prevent us from checking in with the participants and their parents to ensure we're listening to their ideas. As the organisation grows and develops we will continue to develop the artistic programme to include our core programme of dance classes, training in inclusive dance and annual performances.
In order to create a sustainable future for the organisation we continue to seek new funders, new partnerships and continue to work with our funding strategy to include other sources of income like selling our services to other third sector organisations, increasing the members of our friends of Indepen-dance scheme, seek new partnerships with local business that can support our organisation and generally develop a variety of income streams to support the organisation to grow and develop.
How Indepen-dance has benefitted from the funding
The funding from Better Breaks has enabled us to continue to fund the youth element of our core programme of activities and matches funding from BBC Children in Need funding. The funding has enabled us to continuously run creative movement classes to young disabled people in five different location across four different local authorities, this is great opportunity to spread our service wider than Glasgow where our office is based and where the majority of our service is delivered. Indepen-dance has a sound reputation for delivering a service which is of high quality and high standard offering young disabled people the opportunity to participate in a dance activity which is suited to their needs, with the support of the Better Breaks Funding we have been able to extend our reach and as we've had constant funding for a number of years now it has offered a consistency of service to the participants and their families. In many cases funders want to know that we're not reliant on one source of funding, so having support from the Better Breaks programme has been brilliant to enable us to secure funding from other funders.
75 children and young people with learning disabilities and their parents and carers will report that they are feeling more confident and less stressed as a result of attending our planned short break activities.
A total of 72 young people with a learning disability have regularly taken part in our weekly creative movement classes over a period of 40 weeks. The classes have offered disabled children and young people to participate in a dance activity which is suited to their needs. The outcome for many if not all the participants is increased levels of self-confidence, self esteem, well being and health related fitness. As an additional benefit many of the young people have made new friendships and had the opportunity to participate in a fun activity that is accessible and totally suited to their needs. All the creative movement classes are delivered by an inclusive team of workshop leaders and class assistants. The creative movement classes are accompanied by music and participants are offered props and materials to stimulate movement. Some parents choose to participate in the weekly sessions with their child, sharing in a creative activity together and others choose to take a break.
Some people find out about Indepen-dance by being referred by Social Work, health visitors, Schools and College’s or by simply doing a google search but this parent found out about our classes because the company he works for looks after all our IT requirements. Andre had been sent to fix our computers and we got chatting about the type of dance company we are, he realised that we may be able to offer an opportunity for his daughter (15 years old) who is blind and has a learning disability. This is his story, Since my daughter has joined the weekly dance class she has found something she can really look forward too, she really enjoys all the movement and games that she does during the creative movement session. Before going to Indepen-dance my daughter had no friends outside of school but that has all changed as she now has about a dozen or more of them all thanks to Indepen-dance. She made her first proper friend during her first visit and now that friendship is blossoming, she even has a wee song that she made up about her friends at Indepen-dance when she putting her clothes on to get ready for her Tuesday class. Before my daughter started going to Indepen-dance I never realised my daughter was extremely shy in front of others due to me always holding her hand giving her prompts to speak when spoken to. By joining this class it has forced me to take a back seat and allow my daughter to be more confident and make decisions for herself but she still needs a lot more encouragement and at times a stick of dynamite to get her going!!! One of the things that I love to witness during the class is the HUGE smile she has on her face throughout the session. All the teachers and assistants at the class are very patient, fun and encourage my daughter to listen and follow instructions. I just wish I had heard of this amazing class when she was younger. Thank you Indepen-dance for giving my daughter a social life and friends of her own away from school.