Lottery grant to get Oxleas service users dancing

Magpie Dance's Youth Group
Members of Magpie Dance's Youth group

Magpie Dance, a local charity for people with a learning disability, has been awarded a grant from the Big Lottery Fund through its Supporting Change and Impact funds. In an exciting new partnership, some of this money will be used to provide dance sessions for people in our adult learning disability services. 

Magpie, which provides regular dance activities for approximately 200 people with a learning disability (aged 14 upwards) from Bromley, Bexley, Greenwich, Lewisham, and Croydon each year, was founded 27 years ago and provides personal and professional skill development, including life skills, access to regular physical activities each week as well as performance opportunities.

This funding was awarded to 217 organisations who were able to demonstrate  'outstanding impact'. It will help Magpie continue its current work and enable the brand new partnership between Magpie and Oxleas. Magpie will provide dance sessions specifically for users of trust day services and Atlas House. Participants will include people with challenging and complex needs, younger people with autism and older people with needs including dementia.

Avril Hitman, Founder and Artistic Director of Magpie Dance commented: “This new work with Oxleas is a very exciting development for Magpie. Magpie’s work is all about personal development, particularly in areas of wellbeing such as improving non-verbal communication skills. We are delighted to be working with Oxleas to deliver this work.”

Kay Jones, Day Services Manager for Oxleas said: “Having seen Magpie Dance’s work over recent years this is excellent news for adults with learning disabilities who attend our day services, and I feel confident that all taking part will benefit greatly. This is an innovative and fun way to express yourself and its good for your health” 

In a recent survey conducted by Magpie Dance over 80% of respondents felt Magpie had “improved their health and made them feel better about themselves."

For further information about Magpie Dance, including details on how to sign up for one of their dance classes, please visit or call 020 8290 6633.

Published on 12th April 2012