A charity launched by a woman with Down’s Syndrome to empower others through dance has been given a £200,000 cash boost.
DanceSyndrome, based at St James Court West, Accrington, will receive the grant from the funding body Spirit of 2012.
Founded in 2009 by Jen Blackwell, DanceSyndrome caters for people with and without learning disabilities, by providing community dance workshops and dance leadership training for people who want to become dance leaders.
It runs a workshop in Accrington at the New Era Centre every Thursday morning from 10.30am to 12noon, with around 15 regular participants, as well as staging performances at live events.
It is hoped the funding will help them expand the range of workshops they offer and hold more live performances.
Jen, who lives in Chorley, is delighted with the award.
She said: “Getting this funding for DanceSyndrome is just amazing. We are helping people to follow their dreams in dance and be more active in society. Being given this money shows that people really see that what we are doing is important.
“It means that we can carry on our work and reach more people to spread our message that we should focus on people’s ability not, their disabilities.”
DanceSyndrome managing director Dawn Vickers added: “Receiving this funding from Spirit of 2012 is a huge boost for DanceSyndrome.
“It means that we can reach out to even more people and show them, not only that dance is a powerful tool for building confidence, life skills and happiness, but also that everyone can be involved in all activities in our society, regardless of whether they have a disability or not.”
Jen, 33, had wanted to work in community dance since leaving mainstream school in 1999, but after 10 years of searching had not been able to find the right training.
She and 14 other dancers, many with learning disabilities, joined forces to form a group of dance leaders, and in 2013 DanceSyndrome was awarded charitable status.
Spirit of 2012 is a trust established with £47 million from the Big Lottery Fund.
For more information about DanceSyndrome, email firstname.lastname@example.org.