In response to the recent announcement in the local and national press regarding the funding cuts enforced by Woking Borough Council, Dance Woking maybe forced to close in March 2024. The loss of Woking Borough Council’s funding has a significant impact on the sustainability of the charity’s future; we will continue our activities until March 2024 made possible by funding from Arts Council England, Surrey Community Foundation, Active Surrey (Club4) and Shanly Foundation who value the breadth of Dance Woking’s work.
Dance Woking has been providing dance led opportunities since 1994, over the years we have changed our approach to support our evolving community. Our work is essential to the physical and mental wellbeing of the thousands of people we engage and empower. With the funding we received from Woking Borough Council, we raise a further 60% plus of match funding to ensure we can deliver the opportunities and support that the Woking community needs through Trusts and income raised from individuals through workshop fees and ticket sales.
Over the next six months we will continue to seek additional sources of funding and ways to diversify our income to become more sustainable. We are acutely aware of the impact our closure would have on the local community and the team of highly qualified and experienced dance artists and professional companies we employ and work with to deliver our programme.
Through our work Dance Woking reaches thousands of individuals throughout the town’s diverse communities, from young people considered ‘hard-to-reach’ and ‘under-privileged’ to refugees and those living with dementia; our support goes beyond dance class provision.
Dance in Woking is vital; it is an extremely versatile activity. For over 29 years our work has supported the local community’s mental health and wellbeing; improved their fitness; and engaged and empowered Woking’s diverse communities. By providing this support on their own turf, we’ve reduced social inequalities through watching, engaging and performing dance, that without Dance Woking are out of reach for many people. Through our work we make a difference to the lives of individuals. This summer we delivered a project with Woking based SEN School The Park, which resulted in multiple profound benefits, the impact on one student, was described by his teacher: “The power of dance offered to this young man in a safe, nurturing environment, had developed his confidence, helped him to regulate his emotions, involved his whole family and invoked a huge sense of pride in them all.”
In the past week we have worked with the over 65s at Kingsley Care Home and Brockhill Residential Centre as part of our Travelling Tea Dance Tour. The impact of this work on individuals is felt on multiple levels, one attendee said “I have MS. I can go out, it takes a lot of effort and planning… I also realise I can focus on what I can do, other than what I can’t. I can join in here in my own way” another said “My husband died two weeks ago. I felt really down this morning, not having a good day. This activity has picked me up a bit. I feel slightly lighter.”
We also delivered an enrichment day at Knaphill School to inspire, educate and boost confidence through dance as they start the new term. The day promoted teamwork, resilience and new experiences for the young people involved. In the last 12 months almost 4000 individuals participated in a Dance Woking led activity.
If you are interested in the work of Dance Woking and would like to offer your support during these uncertain times please get in touch, we’d love to hear from individuals, as well as organisations looking to collaborate. We can accept donations online https://www.dancewoking.com/donate-now/and if you are interested in volunteering or joining our board of trustees please complete the contact form on our website: https://www.dancewoking.com/contact/
Main Photo: Dance Woking on the road with Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, Doorstep Duets, in July 2023. Widening arts access, enabling high quality, inspirational and impactful arts to reach and engage local communities.