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Older people’s dance receives Sport England funding

10 February 2018

One Dance UK in partnership with People Dancing has been successful in

receiving Sport England Active Ageing funding for a £495,000 dance programme

to tackle inactivity in areas of Leeds, Bradford and Doncaster over the next three

years working closely with Yorkshire Dance. The funding will support the

development of a Dance Activator programme; delivering a wide and varied

dance offer to inactive older people in disadvantaged areas to help get them

active and improve their health and wellbeing.

Dance Activators will work intensively in local communities, to engage older

people in fun, accessible dance programmes. The programme may include

regular social dance sessions such as jive, Latin or ballroom dance plus

creative/contemporary dance approaches which evidence shows can be

inclusive of people with disabilities or health problems and improve their



The programme aims to engage inactive older people in physical activity “disguised” in fun, social dance activity; so has the potential to engage people who are not motivated by health or fitness. Dance is particularly effective at engaging women who, according to national surveys, are less active than men. The aim is to build sustainable dance programmes through self-funded dance groups where communities have the capacity to pay and building partnerships with Health and Social Care organisations to support on-going activity in the most deprived areas.


Jan Burkhardt, Strategic Lead for the Dance in Health & Wellbeing partnership describes the Dance Activator approach:


         “The Dance Activator programme is based on well-established community dance models used over

          the last 40 years within the dance sector, redesigned by applying learning from Sport England’s insight,

          to meet the challenge of supporting people to stay active as they get older. It will also draw on Yorkshire

          Dance’s Dancing in Time project, which showed improved health and wellbeing in older people."


Wieke Eringa, Artistic Director of Yorkshire Dance, says:


        “Our participation in the Active Ageing programme is one of a growing number of Yorkshire Dance

         projects using dance to address issues related to age – among them inactivity, social isolation,

         Parkinson’s and dementia. It’s exciting to contribute to important national research and gratifying that our

         work is having a positive practical impact in the lives of so many older adults. It’s also a genuine delight

         that projects such as Active Ageing enable us to give full-time work to a number of dance professionals

         in Leeds, Bradford and Doncaster.”


Andrew Hurst, Chief Executive of One Dance UK says:


       “We are really excited to be able to shine a light on the excellent work our members, and the sector more

        broadly, are doing with dance and public health. Academic research will be embedded in the project from

        the beginning alongside robust monitoring and evaluation, working with Leeds University, to evidence the

        effectiveness and multiple benefits of health interventions using dance.”

Dancing in Time © Yorkshire Dance

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