‘Let the Dance Begin’ arts outreach to vulnerable hailed as a huge success

Guildhall, Derry.

Guildhall, Derry.

An arts scheme targeting some of the most vulnerable and deprived areas of Derry and Strabane has been hailed for providing a creative outlet for people living with learning disabilities.

Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Business and Culture Committee agreed on Tuesday to approve £8,000 to fund the ‘Let the Dance Begin’ project next year.

The multi-partner project, which extended from Strabane into Derry City for the first time last year, and featured “a series of regional art, music, dance, creative writing, film-making and photography workshops across multiple settings such as older people’s residential care, Sure Start services, older people’s day care services, children and young people”, according to a post-project evaluation, has been a huge success.

SDLP Councillor Tina Gardiner said: “It was fantastic reading in the report that they matched or exceeded all their goals with the events.”

She added that the programme afforded people an opportunity to see their loved ones acting more independently and that a lot of the events were played out before packed houses. Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue said it was welcome to see match-funding being drawn down across various authorities and used to provide greater facilities and opportunities for people with learning disabilities.