The £2.3 million expansion of Dance to Health was officially launched on Thursday 5th October 2017 at the Great Hall, St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. Guest speakers at the launch included Arts Council England Area Director, South East Hedley Swain, Royal Society for Public Health Chief Executive Shirley Cramer CBE, and Sir Stephen ‘O Brien, Trustee of Bart’s Charity.
Dance to Health is an older people’s falls prevention dance programme, combining evidence based physiotherapy with the creativity and energy of dance. The expanded programme will run for two years from October 2017 involving over 800 older people and 800 volunteers. 63 programmes will be delivered across England and Wales in collaboration with regional Health and Dance Partners.
Hedley Swain spoke at the launch event on behalf of Darren Henley OBE Chief Executive, Arts Council England saying –
“Society is facing many challenges around our physical and mental health and wellbeing. The arts can help in so many ways; Dance to Health is great example of bold thinking and imaginative partnerships that use arts and culture to bring about change for the better. The arts and wellbeing agenda is hugely important to the Arts Council and we hope that initiatives like Dance to Health will continue to make a tangible difference to participants’ lives across the country.”
Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Society for Public Health also spoke at the event saying –
“Dance for Health is not only cost effective compared to other interventions for falls prevention in older people but it also plays into other vital health agendas including reducing social isolation, improving mental health and showing that exercise can be fun and enriching”.
Tim Joss, Aesop Chief Executive and Founder says –
“Aesop is thrilled to launch this £2.3 million expansion of Dance to Health in six regions in England and Wales – Birmingham, Cheshire, Yorkshire, Norfolk, Oxfordshire and South Wales. Our vision is for older people everywhere to have easy access to Dance to Health. With the wonderful Dance Partners and Health Partners on board for this phase, we are taking a major step towards realising that vision”.
The expansion programme is being delivered thanks to generous support from the Big Lottery Fund, Nesta and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Peter Sowerby Foundation, Rank Foundation, and the Aged Veterans Fund funded by HM Treasury.
Regional Health and Social Care Partners have also financially supported the roll out of the programme including Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, Cheshire East Council, Connected Care Partnership (NHS Vanguard in Sandwell and West Birmingham), NHS Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group, Royal British Legion care homes and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council.
Dance to Health has been awarded £950,000 of National Lottery funding. Commenting on the investment, Joe Ferns, UK Knowledge and Portfolio Director, at the Big Lottery Fund, said:
“Throughout October we are celebrating how National Lottery funding is playing a significant part in tackling isolation and loneliness across the UK. Dance to Health is an inspiring project that offers fun and sociable group activity, helping older people to lead happier and healthier lives. We are delighted to be funding such as amazing initiative, all thanks to National Lottery players.”
Nesta in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport awarded the project £246,919 from the Second Half Fund. Carrie Deacon, Head of Social Action Innovation Nesta says –
‘’We are excited to help grow Aesop’s Dance to Health initiative, combining the creativity of dance practice with well evidenced based falls prevention models. We think this has great potential to support many more people avoid falls, and are particularly excited to support the model to draw upon the talents of older people to share their knowledge and skills through volunteering to help enable it to grow sustainable”.
Dance to Health is delivered in partnership with regional Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisations; Birmingham Royal Ballet, Cheshire Dance, Dance East, South East Dance and Yorkshire Dance. In Wales, the programme is delivered in partnership with National Dance Company Wales.
To find out more about the programme and how to get involved visit www.dancetohealth.org and follow #DancetoHealth