One Dance UK secures Active Ageing funding from Sport England

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One Dance UK secures Active Ageing funding from Sport England
As part of its Dance in Health & Wellbeing partnership with People Dancing, One Dance UK has
been successful in receiving National Lottery funding from Sport England Active Ageing 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 region’s dance development
Sport England has put tackling inactivity at the heart of its strategy Towards An Active Nation, and
launched the Active Ageing fund to tackle inactivity in the over 55s.
The funding will support the development, implementation and evaluation of a Dance Activator
programme; delivering a wide and varied dance offer to engage inactive older people in
disadvantaged areas to improve their activity levels and wider health and wellbeing.
Dance Activators will work intensively in a local community, building relationships with older
people and partner organisations to engage inactive people from deprived communities in fun,
accessible and social 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 conditions and improve health outcomes.
The programme aims to engage inactive older people in physical activity “disguised” in fun, social
dance activity. It therefore has the potential to engage inactive people who are not motivated by
health or fitness. Data shows that dance is particularly effective at engaging women who, according
to national surveys, are less active than men. The aim is to build sustainability throughout the
programme; establishing self-funded dance programmes where communities have the capacity to pay
and building partnerships and gaining buy in from public and voluntary sector partners to support
ongoing activity in the most socio-economically disadvantaged areas.
Jan Burkhart, 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 the Sport England
insight and design tools, to meet the Active Ageing agenda. It will also draw on the Dancing in Time
model funded by Leeds City Council; a creative contemporary dance intervention that research by
Leeds University showed significantly improved levels of moderate physical activity, mental wellbeing,
and reduced social isolation in women aged 60 to 85 years. We will take a community-centered
approach with older people playing an active part as volunteers, advisors and champions and bringing
communities together to reduce social isolation.”
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.”
Mike Diaper, Executive Director at Sport England says:
“Being active is one of the most important things people can do to maintain health and wellbeing as
they age. We’re delighted to be supporting One Dance UK and Yorkshire Dance with National
Lottery funding to help get older adults lead happier and heathier lives. We’ll be sharing learnings so
successful approaches can be scaled-up or replicated across the country.”

For more information on the Active Ageing fund please visit:

About Sport England
Sport England is a public body and invests more than £300 million National Lottery and government
money each year in projects and programmes that help people get active and play sport. It wants
everyone in England, regardless of age, background, or level of ability, to feel able to engage in sport
and physical activity. That’s why a lot of its work is specifically focused on helping people who do no,
or very little, physical activity and groups who are typically less active – like women, disabled people
and people on lower incomes.
One Dance UK & People Dancing, Dance in Health & Wellbeing
One Dance UK and People Dancing launched the Dance in Health & Wellbeing initiative in March
2017 to strengthen the role that dance plays in improving the health and wellbeing of the nation. The
partners developed a strategic framework to advocate for dance, and influence at a national strategic
level, as well as create new opportunities for dance participation across the country. Similar
initiatives have proven successful in other UK nations including YDance Active in Scotland.
This new model of partnership working aims to raise the profile of dance and was developed in
response to dance being included in Sport England’s definition of physical activity (sports, dance,
walking and cycling) in its Sporting Futures strategy last year. We believe that not only will dance
get more people active (it is particularly effective at engaging women and girls where sport fails) but
research shows that it addresses a wide range of health and social issues, and making dance more
widely available is an effective way of addressing a number of big issues for government – health
inequities, obesity, mental health and inactivity.
Dancing In Time
This Public Health commissioned work enabled Yorkshire Dance to engage with University of Leeds
to measure the impact of 10-week dance interventions in two inner-city neighbourhood networks in
Woodhouse and Richmond Hill. Research demonstrated a significant statistical impact on, amongst
other things, several fall-prevention indicators and further development of the work is planned with
the University and Public Health for autumn 2017.
One Dance UK & People Dancing Dance in Health & Wellbeing and Dance Activator
Yorkshire Dance
Bradford Metropolitan District Council
Leeds City Council
Doncaster Council
and Bradford Dance Network

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