Pavilion Dance South West (PDSW), the Bournemouth-based regional dance development organisation for the South West of England, are thrilled to announce that they have received funding to finance the first year of a three-year project designed to make Parkinson’s Dance classes available to more people across the South West region.

The first year of the “Parkinson’s Regional Roll Out” project is being generously supported by the Inspired by 2012 Health & Wellbeing Legacy Fund, with further support by Healthwatch DorsetSherborne Arts Link, the Dorset Chamber of Commerce and donations received through crowdfunding and Business Come Dancing 2015, a fundraising event in partnership with Lewis-Manning Hospice.

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition. The main symptoms of Parkinson’s are tremors, rigidity, difficulties with balance, co-ordination, posture and walking. Parkinson’s Dance addresses these symptoms in a fun, stimulating, motivating and challenging but safe environment. It is currently developing in the UK with a small number of classes, one of which is run at Pavilion Dance South West.

The PDSW model of Parkinson’s Dance is especially effective as the class is taught by two teachers, one of them a physiotherapist, who ensures that the participants leave every week with a noticeable improvement in balance, coordination and suppleness.

Thanks to the funding received, we will be able roll this model out across the region, with the first new class launching in Sherborne. Helen Chaloner, Director of Sherborne ArtsLink said, “ArtsLink is delighted to be a partner in bringing Parkinson’s Dance to Sherborne. We know that Parkinson’s Dance brings enormous benefit to both those with the condition and their partners or carers. Pavilion Dance South West are experts in this field and we are looking forward very much to this exciting and much needed project.

Over the year PDSW will create two new classes, increasing to six over the three years of the full programme. Within the project we will develop Pavilion Dance South West into a training hub for Parkinson’s Dance teachers and work with Southampton University to provide a solid framework to measure the impact dance has on the participants’ health and wellbeing.

A brilliant and inspiring project for not only Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole but also the South West. This really hits the mark for the legacy fund in regards to addressing health inequalities for vulnerable people through innovative and inspiring activities and we are proud to offer our support,” said David Franks, County Sports & Physical Activity Manager, managing the Inspired by 2012 Health & Wellbeing Legacy Fund.

Joyce Guest, chair of Healthwatch Dorset told us, “Healthwatch Dorset is really pleased to be able to support Parkinson’s Dance extend the work they do across Dorset. Long term health conditions, such as Parkinson’s, can have a devastating impact on people and their families. This project promotes health & wellbeing in a fun environment, helps create friendships and offers support to carers as well.”

Current figures show that the number of individuals aged over 60 (the average age for the onset of Parkinson’s) in Dorset is 7.5% higher than the average in England and Wales – in real terms this is a quarter of the population. With one person in every 500 diagnosed with the condition, we can see the need to increase the provision of Parkinson’s Dance in the region. We are very happy that the first-year project funding is allowing us to begin this work”, said Hannah Ley, Learning & Participation Manager at Pavilion Dance South West.

Photo: Joanne Howard, Fundraising Coordinator (PDSW), Hannah Ley, Learning & Participation Manager (PDSW), Chris Skinner, DCC Sports Project Officer, David Franks, County Sports & Physical Activity Manager, managing the Inspired by 2012 Health & Wellbeing Legacy Fund. Photo (c) Joel Cottrell/PDSW

Notes for Editors

Pavilion Dance South West (PDSW) operates in partnership with Arts Council England (as National Portfolio Organisation), Bournemouth Borough Council and BH Live. It is a National Dance Development Organisation with responsibility for strategic dance development across the South West of England and a registered charity (no. 1111641). PDSW’s work centres around five priority areas in connecting people with dance, one of which is dance and health. 

Inspired by 2012 Health and Wellbeing Legacy Fund The aim of the legacy fund is to create a legacy and inspire communities by investing in projects that focus on the particularly vulnerable, marginalised and deprived communities in order to address health inequalities which exist in Dorset. Out of 186 applications, 56 projects were awarded grant funding, of which the Parkinson’s Regional Roll Out is one.

Projects will:

– Target vulnerable people or marginalised communities

– Tackle identified health inequalities

– Inspire people towards a healthier lifestyle

– Have a lasting legacy

20,528 participants will be engaged across Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole. The projects have the potential for £4.6m savings to NHS Dorset based on reducing GP visits at an average cost of £45 per visit (Government figures 2014).

Healthwatch Dorset is your local consumer champion for health & social care services. Healthwatch Dorset works with local people to discover what’s really going on in health and care across the county. They offer free independent information and they use your feedback to help them make improvements to local health and social care services. 

Sherborne ArtsLink provides high quality courses, classes, trips and events for the whole community in Sherborne and the surrounding area. Our work is about learning but also about activity, engagement and social interaction – vital ingredients in enhancing wellbeing, community cohesion and quality of life. ArtsLink is a registered charity (no. 1007680) funded by West Dorset District Council and the Big Lottery.

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