1,2 – 1,2,3,4!!!!

Sport in Mind is gliding into a brand-new partnership with Dance Reading.

Are you ready to shake things up, and let your body feel the beat? Then this is the moment you’ve been waiting for! From January 2020 Sport in Mind will be introducing new dance classes for local people experiencing mental health problems in partnership with Dance Reading, an organisation designed to support dance artists and schools across the town and beyond.

This new project is funded through an award of £30K from Reading Borough Council’s ‘Reading, Place of Culture’ scheme and Cultural Commissioning Programme (joint funded in partnership with Berkshire Community Foundation). Reading, Place of Culture is part of the Great Place Scheme, which is funded by the Arts Council, National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England.

There will be new weekly fun and free dance sessions in the community, therapeutic dance sessions for inpatients at Prospect Park hospital and movement and mindfulness sessions for mothers in need of support, in partnership with Becoming Mums. In addition to the new sessions, there will be dance and well-being assemblies in schools and a social media campaign to spread the message of the benefits of dance for mental health and help motivate people to start moving, wiggling, jigging, bopping, popping, locking, tapping, swishing, swaying!!!

Research shows that dance can increase people’s motivation to participate in regular physical activity because it is seen as being fun, expressive, non-competitive and sociable. Dance can build self-esteem, lift mood, combat isolation and improve quality of life!  That definitely gets four 10’s from us!

Our founder, Neil Harris, said: “Everyone at Sport in Mind is excited to be working with Dance Reading, Becoming Mums, Reading Borough Council and Berkshire Community Foundation, to satisfy an unmet need in existing local provision by providing local people experiencing mental health problems with fun, social dance sessions in order to improve their mental and physical health. We can’t wait to get this project off the ground and getting everyone dancing”.

Kicking off the programme are two taster sessions for mums during Dance Reading Festival, delivered by leading dance practitioner Mafê Toledo. These fun, engaging and relaxing classes are designed to help mothers reconnect with themselves and their children through dance, promoting deep listening and meaningful play. Moving together is the perfect way to de-stress, feel active, and share a different moment with your child.

Whatever your ability, these friendly and engaging classes will be a fantastic opportunity.

Cllr Karen Rowland, Reading’s Lead Member for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said: “I’m pleased we’ve been able to support this fabulous project and I wish Sport in Mind and Dance Reading the best of luck with this innovative partnership. Our dance community in Reading is one of the “best in the land” and deserves more exposure and more opportunities. I’m really looking forward to hearing more about the dance project as it progresses.  I know that it will be incredibly beneficial to those residents taking part.

“I’d also like to extend our thanks to the generous support from Berkshire Community Foundation, as well as National Lottery players and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England and Historic England, which has enabled projects like this to take place.”

About the project funding

The funding for this project is part of Reading Borough Council’s ‘Reading, Place of Culture’ scheme, supported by the Great Place Scheme, which is funded thanks to National Lottery players and the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and Historic England. This project was funded as part of the Cultural Commissioning Programme in 2019.  To find out more visit http://readingplaceofculture.org/greatplaces


Further information:

Dance Reading is an organisation that provides support, networking and professional development opportunities for local dance professionals, aspiring dancers as well as help bring some of the world’s most exciting dance companies to town. www.dancereading.co.uk

Becoming Mums is a peer to peer support space for new and existing mums. They provide safe, informal and honest conversation space, with children of all ages welcome and catered for. www.becomingmums.com

Berkshire Community Foundation Trust provides advice, distributes grants and raises the profile of local charities and community groups addressing identified need across Berkshire. BCF work alongside donors and philanthropists to raise funds and influence decisions, helping to make a real difference to local people's lives ensuring donations are effective and have the biggest impact per pound.