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What Words Can't Say; photo: Octagon Theatre
 
 
Today is our day of freedom; photo: Liz Pearson
 
 
Isolation; photo: Gabriel Munns
 
 

One Step Forward

Somerset Dance and Mental Health programme aimed at supporting recovery, resilience and self-management for people with mental health needs.

Name of organisation:
Mean Feet Dance

Title of project/programme:
One Step Forward Dance and Mental Health Programme

Dates of project/programme:
Jan-July 2014

Summary:
One Step Forward is a leading Dance and Mental Health programme aimed at supporting recovery, resilience and self-management and facilitating cultural enfranchisement for adults with mental health needs in Somerset. As an artistically driven, user-led programme, the project is the first of its kind in the UK. It has been developed by Viv Gordon, Artistic Director of Mean Feet Dance who has lived experience of mental ill health.

The project extends access and inclusion to dance and reduces isolation, stigma and discrimination by enabling participants to find their artistic voice and model good mental health. Whilst we are not a therapy programme, we harness the multiple therapeutic health and wellbeing benefits of dancing. We support participants to recognise the impact of their involvement on their wellbeing, gain new skills and self-management tools, develop supportive peer relationships, foster healthy behaviours and progress in their lives.

In 2014, we offered a 6 month programme which included taster sessions in Mental Health settings and extended drop-in courses in 3 local communities reaching a total of 154 participants. Additionally we supported 2 dance graduates with mental health needs to work on the project.

In May 2014, we offered participants a progression opportunity onto a week long performance intensive at Bridgwater Arts Centre followed by a short 5 date tour to arts and community events. 11 participants took part in devising and performing the piece, “What words can’t say”, depicting a journey from isolation, struggle and powerlessness to support, wellbeing and personal progression, reaching over 900 audience members.

 

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