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Care to Dance is a social enterprise, led by qualified Social Workers, that supports care-experienced young people through dance. Their mission is to improve the wellbeing of young people in care through the medium of dance. Providing a weekly dance workshop provides a safe space for young people to come together every week and learn dance and also enables them to creatively express themselves through movement, whilst building meaningful relationships and feeling a sense of belonging within a supportive community. Care to Dance provides 12-week and 12-month programmes to care-experienced young people in partnership with Local Authorities across the country. Cicero, Care to Dance’s Inclusion Lead, who attended our first pilot in 2019 shares his journey.
Starting the 12-week programme
When I attended Care to Dance for the very first time at the age of 13, I decided to leave the first ever class because I felt as though I didn’t fit in and lacked a lot of confidence. Despite this, I returned to the programme the week after. Speaking with the other young people and teachers helped me to have more confidence and they encouraged me to try again. I am so pleased I showed resilience as it has given me three years of joy through Care to Dance.
As the programme commenced, I made friends, built confidence and started to love the feeling that dance gave to me. Dance provided me with the opportunity to experience creative expression and a sense of belonging within a safe community. Completing the first ever 12-week programme made me feel extremely proud of myself; reflecting on the very first class I attended showed me that I have the determination and resilience to achieve any of my goals and aspirations.
Embracing the Ambassador role
When I first became an Ambassador for Care to Dance, I felt this was an opportunity to lead by experience, being a positive role model to other young people who have shared similar experiences to me. I generated many different ideas to incorporate the voices of young people within Care to Dance, such as the Dance Progression Plans. Since then I have been appointed as the Inclusion Lead for Care to Dance on a national level.
Innovating through the Inclusion Lead role
To me, inclusivity means everyone feels involved and everyone feels valued in the Care to Dance community. Within Care to Dance, I felt it would be beneficial for someone to have oversight and lead on driving inclusivity throughout the programmes across the country. To this day, I continue to lead systemic change through hosting my own podcast platform, attending a range of events in the sector and being the voice of many care-experienced young people.
Completing my Dance Leadership qualifications
I have since completed my Level 1 and Level 2 Dance Leadership qualifications, accredited by Sports Leaders, and am exploring my future progressions. Outside of dance, I continue to complete my GCSEs, I volunteer at St Johns Ambulance and have aspirations to complete Health and Social Care to become a Paramedic whilst continuing to support young people within Care to Dance. I will be leading the Ambassador workshops in 2023, creating a community of positive change, leading by lived experience.
Thank you Cicero for sharing your story! If you want to hear more, you can listen to Cicero’s podcast here and you can see an episode of Sky News FYI, where you’ll hear from Cicero and others about the power of dance and the impact of being part of such a wonderful community, here.