Bal­let Bees are buzzing

East Kil­bride group quids in thanks to shop­ping cen­tre

East Kilbride News - - FRONT PAGE - Colin Pater­son

East Kil­bride’s Bal­let Bees are buzzing – af­ter se­cur­ing a £1000 cash boost.

The com­mu­nity group aims to un­lock the po­ten­tial of young­sters with ad­di­tional sup­port needs and long-term ill­ness.

A com­mu­nity group us­ing dance to help un­lock the po­ten­tial of chil­dren with ad­di­tional sup­port needs and long-term ill­ness has been awarded £1000.

Bal­let Bees will use the money from EK, East Kil­bride’s com­mu­nity fund to buy new equip­ment to kit out its sec­ond venue.

Us­ing live mu­sic, the con­tem­po­rary dance class of­fers stu­dents the op­por­tu­nity to ex­press them­selves through mu­sic and move­ment – help­ing to in­crease their con­fi­dence and com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills.

Hav­ing launched in June, the group now runs three ses­sions, in­clud­ing a qui­eter class for kids sen­si­tive to sound, at St Mark’s Church in The Mur­ray and the Vil­lage Cen­tre.

Ca­tri­ona Gib­son, who helped set up Bal­let Bees through her char­ity, Buddy’s Field, said: “Be­ing awarded the funds, and get­ting recog­ni­tion from EK, East Kil­bride, is won­der­ful be­cause it high­lights that the cen­tre be­lieves in what we are try­ing to achieve. “There are a lot of smil­ing faces! “We are so happy to have been cho­sen to ben­e­fit from the com­mu­nity fund.

“Be­cause our stu­dents have such a wide range of abil­ity – some re­spond to touch, some to colour, some to move­ment and oth­ers to sound – we need equip­ment that cov­ers all those ar­eas.

“At the mo­ment we have equip­ment that we move be­tween our venues. What the funds will let us do is buy more so we can equip both halls.

“It will also help us cover the cost of train­ing as each child has their own vol­un­teer work­ing with them who needs to be qual­i­fied.”

EK, East Kil­bride cen­tre director Ian McLel­land said: “Our com­mu­nity fund was set up through our Help­ing Hands pro­gramme to sup­port good causes and com­mu­nity ini­tia­tives through­out the town and we are de­lighted to award this round of funds to Bal­let Bees.

“The dance school is the first in­clu­sive dance school of its kind in Scot­land and is al­ready help­ing to trans­form the lives of its stu­dents through the use of mu­sic and dance.”

The idea for the classes arose af­ter lo­cal mum Su­sanne Bo­gan couldn’t find a main­stream dance class suit­able for her daugh­ter, Emma, 10, who is in a wheel­chair.

She then came across a class in Bristol on­line and took the idea to cre­ate a dance ses­sion that catered for chil­dren of all abil­i­ties to Buddy’s Field.

Work­ing to­gether – and with the help of Mag­pie Dance, an or­gan­i­sa­tion at the fore­front of dance for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties based in London – Bal­let Bees was launched and now has three trained teach­ers and eight dance vol­un­teers.

“It took two years for the classes to come to fruition,” Ca­tri­ona said, “and there were times when we ques­tioned if the project would ever get off the ground.

“But we be­lieved in what we were try­ing to achieve and the joy it brings to the chil­dren and their par­ents makes the jour­ney worth­while.

“Be­fore we started we didn’t re­alise just how iso­lated many of the par­ents felt.

“The ma­jor­ity of our stu­dents are picked up and dropped off at home so their mums and dads don’t have the same op­por­tu­nity to chat with oth­ers at the school gate.

“That meant par­ents who needed sup­port weren’t get­ting it, so we pro­vide free tea, cof­fee and bis­cuits and a space where they can talk and sup­port each other in a friendly en­vi­ron­ment while their chil­dren are hav­ing fun.”

If you would like to vol­un­teer your time – or mu­si­cal tal­ents – to Bal­let Bees, and for more in­for­ma­tion on the dance school, visit www.bal­let­bees. co.uk

Any­one look­ing to ap­ply to EK, East Kil­bride’s com­mu­nity fund should visit https://eklife.co.uk or pick up an ap­pli­ca­tion form from the cus­tomer ser­vice desk in Cen­tre West.

Picture of con­cen­tra­tion Alana Ste­wart, 6, at a Bal­let Bees class

All smiles Emma Bo­gan is one of the young­sters ben­e­fit­ing from the group’s ac­tiv­i­ties

En­joy­able ex­pe­ri­ence Teri Nee­son, 9, and Karen Nee­son, 10, have fun as June Thom­son from Bal­let Bees looks on

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