Ballet Bees are buzzing
East Kilbride group quids in thanks to shopping centre
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