Dance to Health has a well-developed volunteering programme which provides support to our participants.
Originally, our volunteer pool was people of a similar age to those attending our sessions, but we have seen the number of student volunteers working with us increase considerably in the last 18 months.
There are several higher education institutions in and around the towns and cities where our groups are located and our Local Coordinators and Volunteering and Public Engagement Coordinator have been busy forming links with students’ unions and volunteering networks.
All sorts of students come to volunteer with us: dance students, trainee physiotherapists, student nurses, people studying health and psychology, dance enthusiasts, those whose family member has fallen and understand the impact this has. In return for the valuable experience that supporting one of our groups provides, the student volunteers bring a freshness, energy and enthusiasm which benefits everyone.
Several students have commented on how much they enjoy having contact with our participants each week, it reminds them of their own grandparents and family members. The participants themselves are delighted to have an intergenerational mix in the room and the chance to socialise with younger people.
Our student volunteers perform several roles in our sessions, from greeting people at the door and helping with the weekly register and subscriptions, to one-to-one support for a person with access or mobility needs in the sessions. Our dance students support the dance artist by simplifying movements or leading small groups of people to enable differentiation of the activities in the room. We’ve even had students help to develop financial plans to keep our groups sustainable into the future.
We are particularly grateful for the support of Oxford Hub, ACES scheme organised by Maureen McCulloch at Oxford Brookes, Sheffield Hallam Union and Birmingham University Guild of Students all of whom have promoted and organised for students to support our groups.
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