East London Dance project will aid young people’s mental health

Young dancers engaging in an Orfeo workshop, 2014. Photo by Nathan Gordon

Young dancers engaging in an Orfeo workshop, 2014. Photo by Nathan Gordon - Credit: Archant

A dance participation scheme will be one of many activities to support the mental health of young people in the borough over the next few months.

East London Dance, which is based in Stratford, will work with London Youth and Sadler’s Wells for a 18-month project from February to help children aged 10 to 16 with emerging mental health difficulties.

Kirsty Anderson-Tyrrell, creative producer, participation and events at East London Dance, said: “Through our participation programme, East London Dance aims to provide progression routes for all young people of east London.

“The [commissioned] HeadStart project will allow us to identify and connect with this specific group of young people, taking them on a progressive dance journey with us.”

HeadStart Newham, led by Newham Council, is a £10 million Big Lottery-funded initative set up to aid young people’s mental wellbeing.

The funding was announced during last year’s Recorder Minds Matter campaign, which aimed to raise awareness of mental health issues.

Since its September launch, the programme has supported 250 students at eight secondary schools and 20 primary schools.

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Up to 600 young people will benefit from activities run after school, at weekends and during school holidays over the next 18 months.

These include an eight week creative song writing course plus specialist and digital arts courses ranging from screen printing to animation. A multi-sports programme will also feature.

Alongside this, an eight-week ‘being a parent’ course is being offered to parents of children aged nine to 16.

Call Penny Phillips on 020 3373 4252 or email penny.phillips@newham.gov.uk for more.