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Dancewest Announce New Trustees and New Projects

DanceWest will run a Covid-19 recovery programme for adults age +55.

DanceWest has announced the appointment of three new trustees joining its dynamic board; former Evening Standard and The Independent video chief Mars El Brogy, Frantic Assembly's Executive Director Kerry Whelan and well-being coach Jon Chu.

Having recently been awarded funding from the Culture Recovery Fund, the appointments come at an important time for the organisation, which worked tirelessly to support local people throughout the pandemic. When lockdown began DanceWest were quick to adapt and respond to the communities' needs with activities that supported physical fitness and social connection. They ensured that no one was left behind, offering 1-2-1 zoom training, tech support and a DVD service where classes were professionally filmed, edited and shared with local people who could not get online.

Between May 2020 and February 2021, 12,000 local people took part in DanceWest activities enabling the community to remain physically active and creatively challenged at home. DanceWest will run a Covid-19 recovery programme for adults age +55 in Brent (April - Dec 2021) and Hounslow (May 2021- April 2022). Other upcoming projects include Dance in the Parks this July/August and a holiday programme for children and young people in Fulham running in August and supported by DEBK charity.

The mission of DanceWest is to engage people of all ages and abilities in high-quality dance activity and to improve the mental, physical health and wellbeing of all people through dance. They have pioneered high-quality dance programmes since 2015 offering a creative and holistic response to social issues including poor health. DanceWest have a track record of supporting vulnerable people to take part in physical activity, from isolated older adults to young people with disabilities. Engaging with 36,000 people each year aged 1-100 years through 70 weekly classes and workshops. Through their work they support disabled and learning-disabled people to access dance as well as older people and the marginalised including disabled children, older adults and low-income families.

Anya Todd, Chair of the Trustees said: "The new trustees bring a breadth of knowledge and experience that will be invaluable to DanceWest. They will continue the support, legacy and vision to provide free and accessible health and wellbeing programmes in West London'.

Rosie Whitney-Fish Chief Executive and Founder of DanceWest, said: "The new appointments will strengthen the organisation as we enter a transformative period for the charity. Mars, Kerry and Jon bring excellent skills and experience to help steer the charity as we develop and diversify our services. We are also delighted to have received the Culture Recovery Fund ensuring that we can continue to offer a creative response to social issues communities face in West London. We believe dance is for everyone. It should be accessible to all.."

Kerry Whelan said: "I am thrilled to be joining the Board of DanceWest at such an exciting stage of the organisation's growth. DanceWest provides a vital service to communities in West London, of all ages, to engage with dance for health, well-being, education and recreation and is needed now more than ever. I look forward to working with Rosie and her team and my fellow Trustees to help shape strategy and develop relationships with donors and funders."

Jon Chu said: "DanceWest programmes enable everyone to move and improve their physical and mental health. Studies have even shown dance to be more than twice as effective as reading and more than 75 times more effective than cycling, swimming or golf in reducing the risk of dementia in later life. I am very proud to be a DanceWest Trustee. I look forward to supporting DanceWest to grow."

Mars El Brogy said: "Enabling participants and audiences to engage with DanceWest digitally will be a huge importance for the organisation as it navigates supporting audiences post-pandemic. I am proud to be bringing my skills to the board of trustees and enabling the community to engage with DanceWest's work digitally."

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