What a difference a year makes. This time last year the UK was in Lockdown and Keep Dancing classes were back running online. Once again, the sustainability of Xpress-Yourself was very questionable.
It wasn’t until the middle of May that classes started to return to face to face teaching and some classes remained online. At this point we were able to get got the whole Xpress-Yourself team back which felt like a huge achievement particularly knowing of the relationships that our participant has built with their keep dancing teacher and importantly bringing back work opportunity. On this note and what a team we have always enthusiastic kind smiling, patient and professional always delivering their best!
During these testing times one organisation has been key in supporting us, not only by offering the opportunity for us to host their tea dances so that another income stream was generated but all the support that they have offered have helped transform the organisation to help make it more sustainable into the future. Building Community Together and particularly Becky Coley, Community Engagement Officer have been incremental in supporting us during the 2nd national lockdown and in our recovery as we came out of lockdown.
Thanks to many hours of support from Becky, Xpress-Yourself registered as Xpress-Yourself Dance CIC meaning that we now have a board of directors and are eligible to apply for funding. This has been such a positive step for us, not only working with Becky but now having two committed board members, Laura Gilmore and Tina Hackett who are passionate about driving the organisation forward. Both board members with their skills, knowledge and insight have helped to achieve success with grant applications to support the running of some Keep Dancing classes.
Being able to return to some care homes and dementia cafes has also been encouraging and actually a sound reminder of the value of the work we deliver and the difference it makes to people’s lives.
Our participants continued support for our classes, tea dances and work in the community continues to motivate and encourage us to keep going forward. Our participants should never under estimate the significance of sending an email to us to inform us of how much they are enjoying this month dances. These emails have certainly inspired on difficult days where it has been hard to see the wood for the trees.
So now Xpress-Yourself is a registered Community Interest Company, has had success in funding applications, awaiting news on other applications, a super team of dance teachers back working, we have a board of directors who are knowledgeable and very supportive and helping us to work towards putting a strategic plan in place. Xpress-Yourself Dance is also running their third Xpress-YourElf to have fun and raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society supporting the lives of people living with Dementia. Who knew all this would be possible twelve months ago when it was so hard to see the wood for the trees!
It is true what Porter Gale said that ‘Your network is your net-worth’ and aren’t we so lucky!
A huge thanks to everyone’s support, always forever grateful.