Inspirational members at ‘Speak Out in Hounslow’ are breaking down stereotypes with their line dancing club aimed at adults with learning disabilities and additional needs.

Awarded £48,017 in funds from People’s Health Trust with money raised through The Health Lottery in London West, the project seeks to boost confidence and reduce feelings of social isolation by encouraging its’ members to get out and about, build new friendships and gain new skills.

Speak Out in Hounslow at Night of Festivals

Sally Malit, Co-Director at Speak Out in Hounslow, said:

“People with learning disabilities are too often told they ‘can’t’ and we are working to change that message and support members to feel empowered and show the wider community their abilities.”

The most popular of the sessions, the line dancing club, meets once a week and attracts around 30 regular members, some of who are in wheelchairs, Members are dedicated to learning the complicated routines, which they perform to the wider community, including at the Night of Festivals in Hounslow.

Sally discussed the transformations she sees amongst members and said:

“We had a gentleman who was stuck in his ways and at first thought, that line dancing wouldn’t be for him, now he loves the class and attends every week.”

The project caters to all abilities and offers cooking classes, and an arts and craft session. After learning jewellery making, two of the project members plan to start their own jewellery-making business.

Sally continued:

“In the area of Hounslow, there is a lack of support for adults over 25 with learning disabilities, and Speak Out Hounslow is addressing this by providing opportunities for members of all ages to come together as a community and show the world that they can.

“It’s incredible to see the change in people – one of our members was initially apprehensive to even leave her house, but now, six months in and she’s travelling all over London unaccompanied and has secured herself a full-time job at a local nursery.”

Health Lottery London West is continuing to support local projects and has raised more than £8m in funds to support over 252 projects within the London West region, which includes South West, West and North West London and Berkshire.

Martin Ellice, Joint Managing Director of The Health Lottery said:

“Speak Out Hounslow is a fantastic example of a local project making a massive difference within wider society.”

He added:

“Without your support, it would not be possible to fund these charities and I have every confidence that we will push the overall total raised beyond £8m this year.”

To date, The Health Lottery has raised over £109 million to support local charities across England, Scotland and Wales. This month, funds raised from ticket sales will go towards funding projects in London West.