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> > > Dance organisation for learning-disabled people wins business award

Magpie Dance, a dance organisation for learning-disabled people has won top place in the Business Awards for their home town.

A learning disabled dancer strikes a pose, with another performer in the background against a dark backdrop

Image courtesy of Magpie Dance.

Bromley-based Magpie Dance beat insurance companies, restaurants, banks and a range of other businesses in Prospect's Bromely Business Awards 2015, which come just as the dance organisation celebrates its 30th birthday.

Artistic Director Avril Hitman said:

“I’m so excited to receive this recognition from the business world for our work. We aim to unlock each individual’s potential and ability by giving dancers space to make their own choices and take ownership of what they achieve. We work across the country and our work is well recognised in the arts world, but this award shows that the value of what we do is understood more widely.”

Magpie works with dancers ranging from youth groups open to all abilities, to a professional dance company selected by audition. They aim to challenge preconceptions of people with learning disabilities and to use dance as a creative outlet, a means of communication and – for some – a career.

Working with the Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, Magpie delivers inclusive dance sessions for people with a range of complex learning disabilities, including some on the autism spectrum and with challenging behaviour, as well as older clients with dementia.

This work has been selected as an example of best practice which will be showcased at a high profile national event for health commissioners and patient groups at the Royal Festival Hall in February 2016. The event will be attended by the Secretary of State for Health, the Chair of NHS England, the Chair of Arts Council England and Public Health England’s National Director of Health & Wellbeing.