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Cumbrian Dance Project Picks up North West Health Award

June 10, 2014

Cumbrian Dance project Dancing Recall scooped the ‘Developing a Shared Culture Project Award’ at the Health Education North West Adult Learners’ Week Awards last week in Manchester. The awards ceremony was held at Manchester Museum and was ran in conjunction with Adult Learners’ Week 2014.

Receiving the award on behalf of the project were; Daphne Cushnie, project designer, mentor and practitioner; Susie Tate, project mentor and practitioner and Bruce Lawson, Project manager with Active Cumbria. Hundreds of people came together to hear the inspirational stories of adults who have been transformed by their learning experiences and the impact this learning has had on others.

Dancing Recall is an innovative countywide community dance and movement project, specifically designed for people living with dementia and their care givers. The project was designed by neurological physiotherapist and community dance artist Daphne Cushnie. It uses a model founded on the values of community dance where relationship, creativity and community building are key, but seamlessly weaves in a logical structure based on clinical understanding. It simultaneously addresses the physical, cognitive, social and emotional effects commonly associated with dementia in a highly enjoyable and creative way.

The project was devised as part of a cross sector partnership supporting the Cumbria Dementia Strategy Action Plan, and converges medicine and the arts. It has a trained team of specialist community dance practitioners who teach eight weekly music and dance sessions taking place in different locations throughout Cumbria. They also visit care homes for in-house sessions. The response from the pilot phase of the project has been overwhelmingly positive with participants clamouring for more.

Daphne Cushnie, project designer said:

“We are thrilled to have won this NHS backed award. It is a mark of recognition for the appropriateness and value of well-designed community dance as a health and wellbeing intervention for people living with neurodegenrative conditions. We believe this is only the start of a wider movement towards new models of compassionate, effective healthcare for long-term conditions.”

Bruce Lawson, Senior Manager, Active Cumbria said:

“Setting up this project from scratch in such a short timescale presented a number of challenges to partners.  However, I am delighted with the results that we have collectively achieved. We now have a team of experienced community dance practitioners across the county who now have a firm understanding of the needs of those who live with dementia. We have been able to deliver high quality activity sessions in different settings to help people living with dementia lead more active, independent and fulfilled lives. Receiving this award is great news for Cumbria and everyone involved in supporting the project.”