East London Dance is embarking on a major new partnership with HeadStart Newham, a project to tackle the growing prevalence of mental health problems amongst young people. From February 2017, East London Dance will embark on an 18 month project with HeadStart Newham – in partnership with London Youth and Sadler’s Wells – for mental health prevention in young people aged 10-16. The programme will deliver a creative and high quality programme of dance participation and performance, for young Newham residents with emerging mental health difficulties.
Through the participation programme, East London Dance aims to provide progression routes for all young people in East London, of any age or ability. The HeadStart project will identify and connect with this specific group of young people, providing them with a progressive dance journey. The dance programme is vital: Headstart Newham identified a significant and growing area of need among young people with this project, which will greatly benefit from shared knowledge, experience and the effect dance can have on mental health and wellbeing.
The programme will offer access dance classes at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels, weekly classes, week-long projects and the opportunity to join the East London Youth Dance Company. The programme will reach at least 150 local young people over the next 18 months, culminating in a dance platform event at Stratford Circus Arts Centre.
50% of all lifetime mental disorders begin by the age of 14, and evidence of the benefits of creative and sporting activities in promoting mental health resilience in 10-16 year olds who are at risk has been well proven. In light of this, HeadStart Newham’s commissioning of East London Dance to develop and lead a new preventative dance programme is hoped to promote wellbeing and mental health resilience for local young people.