Young people are learning to strut their stuff with the help of professional dancers thanks to cash from the Police & Crime Commissioner for Essex.
The U Do It Dance Foundation is the charitable arm of the World’s largest street organisation – the United Dance Organisation. It aims to provide dance classes to children from under-privileged communities, make dance more available for all young people in our communities and divert youngsters away from committing crime, re-offending and carrying out anti-social behaviour.
Thanks to £14,000 in funding from PCC for Essex Nick Alston, the foundation has set up in Thurrock and is now providing dance workshops for secondary and primary pupils from across the borough.
The youngsters, aged 9 – 15 are being taught street dance by professionals who have already gained teaching accreditations through the U Do It Dance scheme.
The Chief Executive of the Thurrock U Do It project Jo Keane, a former detective who served on Essex Police’s child protection team, said: “The PCC was the first to fund the project, and we are delighted to provide activities for the young people which they may not have previously thought they would like to be involved with. It offers them a social life instead of sitting indoors on the internet or using social media to make friends. Setting up the U Do It Dance workshops inside and outside of school has made me realise the crucial need for the scheme.”
The workshops have continued through the summer holidays free of charge to youngsters. A recent presentation evening was held at the Brandon Groves Community Hall in South Ockendon hosted by “Turbo”, a former finalist of Sky One’s Got to Dance TV show. Turbo, who was a finalist on the show in 2014, is heavily involved with the workshops and a frequent judge for the World Wide Organisation UDO ltd.
Turbo said: “Through my time and involvement with the workshops it is clear that the young people of Thurrock happily engage through dance. It would be extremely disappointing if the scheme was not able to seek further funding because the young people would not have any engagement methods and could potentially end up being vulnerable.”
Lindsay Whitehouse, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “We are delighted to be able to provide funding to U Do It Dance, which makes dancing inclusive and accessible to not only those from under-privileged communities, but also those suffering a disability. What is clear from our own visits to the project is that the teachers have really engaged with the youngsters and whilst teaching them the skill of dancing, they are also helping to boost their confidence, helping the young people make friends and increasing their sense of team spirit and working.”
A year nine pupil from the William Edward School said: “I used to hate PE but now we are able to be involved with dance classes, I look forward to PE and always turn up early as I like to make the most of the workshop. I even practice outside of school now with my friends who I have made through the scheme. I now feel I have gained some confidence in myself and grateful for the support from Jo Keane and the teachers.”
The U Do It Dance project in Thurrock was given the cash after successfully applying through the PCC’s Community Safety Development Fund (CSDF), which is money made available to community safety partners – including community and voluntary groups – to develop new ways to prevent and tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.
For more information on how to apply for CSDF funding please visit our website.
If your enquiry relates to operational policing or a crime please contact Essex Police here