Saturday, 25 May 2024
Saturday, 25 May 2024

Dance charity offers job opportunities for people with learning disabilities

PEOPLE with learning disabilities will benefit from new funding for a pioneering south London dance charity.

Bromley-based Magpie Dance runs creative dance classes for children and adults set to live music.

The charity is now offering job opportunities for its members, who will act as mentors and ambassadors in schools and deliver training for other organisations.

The scheme is being funded through a £66,000 grant from City Bridge Trust – the City of London Corporation’s charity funder. 

Dance charity offers job opportunities for people with learning disabilities
City Bridge Trust Chairman Giles Shilson

City Bridge Trust Chairman Giles Shilson said: 

“Charities like Magpie play a hugely important role in tackling the social isolation many people with learning disabilities experience, building their confidence and independence and helping them develop communication and life skills.

“Magpie Dance was at the cutting edge of this kind of provision when it launched and we’re delighted that our funding is helping it to continue to innovate and to offer new, potentially life-changing opportunities to its members.”

Magpie was set up by founder Avril Hitman, BEM, in 1985, originally running one class a week, at a time when no comparable provision for people with learning disabilities existed.

Since then, it has blossomed and now runs 17 classes catering for over 300 people. During the lockdown, it ran over 500 online sessions reaching over 1,000 people.

Classes feature styles including ballet, contemporary and dance styles from around the world.

Magpie Dance Fundraising and Development Manager David Ward said:

“People who come to our classes are often quite overwhelmed and nervous to start with, but through drawing them into the session and encouraging them to play a part in leading activities, we see their confidence and ability to communicate with others grow significantly in a short space of time.

“Our mentors and ambassadors programme enables us to put people with learning disabilities at the forefront, not just participating in classes but carrying out paid work, teaching others and acting as a role model for younger dancers.”

More information about Magpie Dance is online at:

The City of London Corporation’s charity funder, City Bridge Trust, is London’s biggest independent grant giver, making grants of over £25 million a year to tackle disadvantages across the capital –


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