Dance Dosti: Get Down, Get Going dance project awarded £44,000
Metro Blind Sport, in partnership with inclusive dance company Step Change Studios and British Blind Sport, will launch a new inclusive dance project, thanks to a grant from the Vision Foundation of nearly £44,000.
The ‘Dance Dosti’ project will engage blind and partially sighted young people and adults from the Asian community to be active through dance.
Martin Symcox, CEO of Metro Blind Sport said: “People from the Asian community have reported greater inactivity, isolation and loss of independence as a result of Covid-19. For this reason, this new project specifically focuses on people from an Asian background.
“We are extremely grateful to Vision Foundation for its support with this project and delighted to be working alongside specialist dance organisation, Step Change Studios and British Blind Sport.”
Rashmi Becker, Founder of Step Change Studios said: “this grant is important recognition of the need to support people at greater disadvantage in our communities. Physical activity plays a critical role in improving health and wellbeing, yet data from Sport England has found greater reductions in activity levels among people from an Asian background, and Activity Alliance data has shown that disabled people are twice as likely as non-disabled people to be inactive.
‘Dance Dosti’ is a creative initiative that will promote physical activity and use the benefits of dance to bring people together and improve quality of life. The project combines different elements including home and community-based dance, engaging local partners and volunteers to support participation, and providing advice for dance and fitness providers on inclusive practice. We are excited to be working with Metro Blind Sport on this innovative project that is committed to tackling health and social inequalities.”
Olivia Curno, Chief Executive of the Vision Foundation, said, “The Vision Foundation supports projects that reflect the real issues impacting blind and partially sighted people. The pandemic has had a huge impact on the visually impaired community over the past year and we are committed to projects that address the isolation that people are experiencing.”
41% of the London population identifies as Asian or Black – 38% of which are in poverty; Sport England highlights that gender inequality in sport and physical activity is more pronounced for Asian women and the sector has ‘failed to engaged women of different ethnic backgrounds’;  ‘Dance Dosti’ will especially target girls and women, providing dance in different styles, languages, and both standing and seated dance options to cater for diverse needs.
On-demand online classes will be available from June this year. The community-based programmes will be piloted in five London boroughs from Autumn 2021: Brent, Ealing, Harrow, Newham, and Tower Hamlets. The project will monitor the impact of dance on a range of measures including mental and physical health, confidence, friendships, increasing independence and learning new skills.
Anyone interested in taking part in ‘Dance Dosti should email: firstname.lastname@example.org
 Sport for All? January 2020. Sport England
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