The Paralympics came to a spectacular end last week and here At Para Dance UK, we have been proudly watching the Team GB Athletes. Coming second to China, Team GB secured 41 Gold Medals, 38 Silver and 45 Bronze Medals securing their place in 18 of the 19 sports entered. However, we wanted to look at the bigger impact that the Paralympic games have on society and opening sport to disabled people everywhere in the UK and more importantly how to keep the momentum going. Our Paralympic Heroes have done us proud and their efforts are the much-needed catalyst to change.
Impossible to Ignore
The year before the start of the Paralympic Games the Impossible to Ignore Initiative was launched. It was born out of the research that Paralympic Athletes are key to challenging the perceptions around disability in the UK. Making Impossible, Possible, and shining a positive light on disability inspiring all those who watched in awe. It’s this sense of pride in our athletes that we need to harness to adopt real and lasting change and embody the values that the Paralympic Games represent.
The Paralympics have opened a gateway for inclusive sports and given a voice to the 13.9 million disabled people in the UK. Conversations regarding inclusivity in sport, exercise are inevitable. However, following the 2016 Paralympics, despite the success of Team GB uptake on exercise from disabled members of the community remained low despite the optimism from the publicity.
According to Activity Alliance, only 40% of disabled people feel they are given the opportunities they need to be active and disabled adults are twice as likely to be inactive as non-disabled adults.
Turning Inspiration into Change
Inspiration is the driving factor for change, but we need the tools to be able to turn inspiration into lasting change. There are still barriers for disabled people to become active and at Para Dance, this is something that we are constantly pursuing and finding new and inventive ways to get people into dancing. Not just for the physical benefits, but for mental and societal wellbeing. Following on from the Paralympic Games we want to keep the momentum going and hope you’ll be part of the movement.
Dance Instructors and Health Professionals
If only 4 in 10 disabled people feel they are given the opportunity to be active, then we can help to bridge that gap. During the pandemic we redeveloped our Inclusive Dance Training to an online platform, meaning that it can be accessed from anywhere removing the locational barriers to train. Many Inclusive Dance Instructors have come through the training and have taken the benefits of their training into their respective businesses offering inclusive dance sessions in their area. The opportunities to enhance your business and directly from Para Dance UK are forever growing and we need more people to join us!
Financial support is available for those wishing to train. All the information and how to apply can be found here: https://paradance.org.uk/training/courses/
Inclusive Dance Sessions
Para Dance UK are passionate about providing everyone with the opportunity to take part in inclusive dance. The team have been working tirelessly to provide an extensive library of content for all abilities.
You don’t need to be an expert dancer; these sessions are guided and easy to follow and can be done standing or seated. New content is regularly added for our members, and we are often running new and exciting inclusive dance opportunities. During the remaining part of 2021 we have:
- Our Winter wonderland Online Competition– Our second Competition of the year is open to everyone to express their dancing creativity and celebrate the season!
- Para Dance Youth Games– We have partnered with Alexandra Palace to open the Youth Dance Games Competition for all SEND schools in London and the surrounding area.
- Online Inclusive Dance Day- To celebrate Sport Heritage Day, we are holding an Inclusive Dance Day on the 30th of September.
- Tour of the Floor– Explore different dance genres from all over the world with Our Tour of the Floor Programme. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org to access.
- Fit for the Floor has been designed to get athletes active and competition-ready following the pandemic. Email: email@example.com to access.
- Feel Good Thursday- join us live every Thursday on Facebook for half an hour of inclusive dance.
Sign up to become a Para Dance UK member and start to enjoy the benefits that dance has to offer!
Para Dance Sport- Become a Team GB Hero
Para Dance UK is always looking for the next top Para Dance Sport Athlete. We are the national governing body for Para Dance Sport in the UK and are always looking for skilled dancers to join our talent pathway and represent team GB.
Para Dance Sport is growing at a grassroots and elite level but we need more people to take part and to become an affiliated instructor. To get involved with Para Dance Sport- you can register and find a local instructor here: https://paradance.org.uk/find-an-instructor/