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Special Needs - Synergy Dance Outreach

His cheeky little laugh and smile has returned…

SEND testimonial

It’s testimonials like these that make what we do incredibly special. Here at Synergy Dance® outreach, we aim to be inclusive. Our classes are more than just dance classes – they are a sense of belonging to those who might otherwise feel isolated. 

If you work in a school or an environment that deals with SEND Children and Teenagers, we would love to speak to you and tell you more about what we do.

Our classes are fantastic but don’t just take our word for it. Read one of our recent testimonials below.

I just wanted to feedback to you, that George has had a pretty tough time of it since the beginning of the pandemic. I’ve had to work more than usual (I’m a paramedic so no working at home for me!) which meant he was able to attend school during the period of homeschooling, however it was all different for him as they offered places as ‘childcare’ rather than a typical school day. Then as he returned full time he was kept back a year whilst his friends and regular teacher moved up, so he had more change to contend with.

Covid also hasn’t been kind to our family, and we have lost many family members over the last two years. We are a small, but close family, and the absences are greatly noticed.

On top of this George has had two operations at Great Ormond Street – he was really brave!

As George is non-verbal, I’ve not really been able to talk to him about how he is feeling, or talk him through difficult situations, and last year he really struggled with anxiety. This affected his ability to attend – and then stay in school, and then began to affect him at home too. He didn’t really want to go out of a weekend, and wanted to stay home for fear if he went out, he’d be taken to school.

It was so sad to see, as George has always been such a happy, cheerful little boy, known by all for his huge smile and infectious giggle!

I had been searching for a support group or therapy for him – well, actually searching for anything that might help him work through his anxiety! But there is little to nothing out there for children with special needs. I then found you, through watching Strictly Come Dancing.

Since starting his dance classes I, and school have seen a huge change in George. George has only been attending for a couple of months, but has grown hugely in confidence and made huge personal developments in his understanding and language. He is so keen to copy his teacher, firstly watching her perform the dance move, then trying to copy, and has even started to develop some language, copying her as she tells him what the dance move is called, Amazing! George has actually been looking forward to going to school, to show staff and his peers the move he’s learned – before Christmas we couldn’t even get him through the door! His cheeky little laugh and smile has returned, and I’m so thrilled to see ‘the old George’ returning. So thank you so much, for such a wonderful, inclusive, fun group!

Everyone Active & Synergy Dance® Partnership

Everyone Active partners with Synergy Dance to offer all-inclusive online platform supporting people with disabilities and special needs

As part of their growth in digital services, Everyone Active has partnered with Synergy Dance. To offer people of all ages and abilities exclusive access to a specialised online platform.

The Synergy Dance service is aiming to keep the nation active through inclusive and fun activities. All of which have been developed to support individuals including people with physical and mental disabilities. The classes are suited to all abilities with activities ranging from seated yoga to audio recordings for the visually impaired and blind.

The service will be available for free to all Everyone Active members and new joiners.

The partnership will see Everyone Active further expand their digital fitness offering which currently hosts a range of over 2,500 workouts and access to four leading fitness apps. The leisure operator’s on-demand service gives people an at-home solution to staying active. It has also helped tackle the nation’s rising levels of inactivity during lockdown periods.

Research from Activity Alliance’s Annual Survey revealed the additional constraints disabled people have faced during the pandemic. The figures showed that over 44% of disabled individuals felt they haven’t had the opportunity to be active. In comparison this figure was nearly half as prevalent in non-disabled people at 29%.

To access the free classes, customers will need to register at Synergy Dance and use the code “Everyone Active” after their name. For more information on the partnership and how to sign up, visit: https://www.everyoneactive.com/promotion/synergy/

Everyone Active’s Group Development Director Ben Beevers, said:

“Over the past 11 months we’ve adapted our business to ensure we can fully support our customers and offer them the best online fitness services. Our latest partnership with Synergy Dance will ensure we can offer an extended range of inclusive activities to people of all abilities.

“Inclusivity remains at the core of the Everyone Active values and we’re delighted to support the brilliant work that the Synergy team are doing to offer a vast range of specialised activities. We look forward to offering this service to our members and seeing what is to come next from this exciting partnership.”

Rachael Hurton, Synergy Dance Outreach Founder & Director, said:

“At Synergy we were determined lockdown would not stop us making a difference. We are proud to support inclusive activities for all children, teens, adults and the elderly. Like Everyone Active, we encourage everyone we come into contact with to participate in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, at this time, via online training, up to five times per week.

Our Synergy courses are for all including Special Needs classes for Autism & Cerebral Palsy, audios for the Visually Impaired and Blind, seated classes for the Disability Community, those with Long Term Health Conditions and the elderly – offering much diversity and choice. Thanks to Everyone Active, so many more people can join in the fun and improve their physical and mental health through our online exercise programmes which can take place anywhere and at any time.”

Synergy Dance® Outreach have Partnered with Everyone Active!

Synergy Dance® Outreach provides innovative dance and yoga activities in schools and leisure centres, serving both mainstream and the special needs and disability community. Inclusivity is vital to us. At Synergy, no one is left behind and we are delighted to partner with Everyone Active to enable their members to experience inclusive online workouts for all.

At Synergy we were determined lockdown would not stop us making a difference. We are proud to support inclusive activities for all children, teens, adults and the elderly. Like Everyone Active, we encourage everyone we come into contact with to participate in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, at this time, via online training, up to five times per week.

Our Synergy courses are for all including Special Needs classes for Autism & Cerebral Palsy, audios for the Visually Impaired and Blind, seated classes for the Disability Community, those with Long Term Health Conditions and the elderly – offering much diversity and choice. Thanks to Everyone Active, so many more people can join in the fun and improve their physical and mental health through our online exercise programmes which can take place anywhere and at any time.

 

ParaStars Dance – FREE Dance Parties Every Wednesday Throughout February!

As a result of the generous funding, we received from the Postcode Community Trust (see more here – http://synergydanceoutreach.co.uk/2021/01/15/postcode-community-trust-funding/) and the popularity of January’s, FREE Live Dance Parties, we have scheduled more that will take place every Wednesday at 6 pm throughout February!

 

So, let’s use our superhero powers to share and celebrate Kindness & Happiness as we dance to an upbeat playlist to leave you all feeling happy, loved and awesome. 

Jessie’s class is always super creative with a huge emphasis on having fun! 

 

So share with your friends and get ready for 45 minutes of fun-filled dance!

 

This Zoom session is a seated dance routine aimed at children with disabilities, SEN or long term health conditions, but, anyone can join in, log on and take part!

For more details, go to our event pages here:

 

February 3rd – https://fb.me/e/qd5WmgQ0i

February 10th – https://fb.me/e/3VQD9L5uG

February 17th – https://fb.me/e/5hzYUzxY7

February 24th – https://fb.me/e/3rLmIZRhi

 

We can’t wait to see you! 

Synergy Dance® Online Inclusive Classes – “Don’t Underestimate Seated Yoga!”

“Don’t underestimate seated yoga!”

Have you tried any of our at-home Dance or Yoga workouts yet? We currently have two online platforms that are home to a variety of inclusive classes.

Our Synergy Dance at Home Platform hosts the following courses:

Synergy Dance at Home for Juniors

Synergy Yoga & Meditation for Teens & Adults

Synergy Yoga at Home for Juniors

Yoga & Meditation for SEND Students

Synergy Audio Yoga & Meditation for VI & blind Students

Junior & Teen Dance at Home for SEND Students

Audio Dance for VI & Blind Students

Synergy Workshops & Masterclasses for Children & Teens

ParaStars Yoga for Children, Teens, Adults & Seniors

ParaStars Dance for Children, Teens, Adults & Seniors

Our Free Inclusive Dance and Yoga Platform hosts some additional courses, which are as follows:

ParaStars Yoga for Children (6 – 11 years)

ParaStars Yoga for Teens (12 – 18 years)

ParaStars yoga for Adults

ParaStars Yoga for Seniors

ParaStars Dance for Children (6 – 11 years)

ParaStars Dance for Teens (12 – 18 years)

ParaStars Dance for Adults

ParaStars Dance for Seniors

Synergy SEN Yoga for Children with Autism

Synergy SEN Yoga for Teens with Autism

Synergy SEN Yoga for Children with Cerebral Palsy

Synergy SEN Yoga for Teens with Cerebral Palsy

Synergy SEN Yoga for Adults with Learning Difficulties

Synergy SEN Dance for Adults with Learning Difficulties

Synergy Audio Dance for VI & Blind Children (6 – 11 years)

Synergy Audio Dance for VI & Blind Teens (12 – 18 years)

Synergy Audio Dance for VI & Blind Adults

Synergy Audio Yoga for VI & Blind Children (6 – 11 years)

Synergy Audio Yoga for VI & Blind Teens (12 – 18 years)

Synergy Audio Yoga for VI & Blind Adults & Seniors

Synergy Audio Meditation for VI & Blind Children (6 – 11 years)

Synergy Audio Meditation for VI & Blind Teens (12 – 18 years) 

 

If you haven’t had the chance to try any of our classes yet, please use the course links to go to the classes and get yourself enrolled.

To help you make your decision, and, hopefully, encourage you to sign up and join the Synergy family, here is an audio testimonial from one of our current users.

 

Synergy Dance® Outreach Receives Funding from the Postcode Community Trust

Synergy Dance® Outreach is extremely honoured, and excited to announce that we have received a grant from The Postcode Community Trust which is supported by players of The Postcode Lottery.

The Postcode Trust funding will be used to engage with & support many more people with SEND, and with those with long term health conditions.

Specialist SEND trained dance teachers will record fun 12 week Creative Dance programmes available for download on the Teachable Platform so participants can download videos & repeat as often as they wish, alone or with family members, friends, or carers.

It will also fund ParaStars DanceParty Live, a brand new and innovative weekly online dance event for 26 weeks to get inactive people active and responding to themes and requests from participants via our monitored ParaStars Dance Facebook Group.

 

We know from our partnership work with British Blind Sport what a buzz is created around the live events enabling participants to connect and feel a valued part of their community.

 

To join in our Live Dance Parties head to our Facebook Page, where we will share weekly event updates.

Dance Party Live Events:

December 22nd 5 pm (Christmas Dance Party): https://fb.me/e/YRYLPztV
January 13th at 6 pm (Space Adventure): https://fb.me/e/1UU4oGaxH
January 20th at 6 pm (Space Adventure): https://fb.me/e/11vQHXXy7
January 27th at 6 pm (Space Adventure): https://fb.me/e/4NycHuKVp

 

To participate and get involved with our online, inclusive classes you can enrol on our platform here:

https://synergy-dance-online.teachable.com

Synergy Dance® Online Inclusive Platform to Tackle Inequalities

Synergy Dance® Outreach (SDO) has been supported by EMD UK to develop and launch a national all-inclusive online platform offering free, easily accessible dance and yoga programmes for all ages.  The project, designed to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on activity levels of people from under-represented groups, was made possible by receiving funding of £17,000 from Sport England’s Tackling Inequalities Fund.  This amount was allocated from the £20m which had been assigned to the Tackling Inequalities Fund by the  National Lottery.

Founder of SDO, Rachael Hurton, is rightly proud of what they achieved in recording 174 online classes and keeping within budget.  She has written a guest blog for us to explain the vision behind it all and how they are transforming lives –

Synergy Dance® provide innovative dance and yoga activities in schools and leisure centres, serving both mainstream and the special needs and disability community. At Synergy, no one is left behind.

Synergy Dance® Outreach – the charity arm of Synergy – was set up to meet local need and create positive change, removing barriers to enable people experiencing disadvantage or marginalisation to improve physical and mental health and wellbeing through accessible, inclusive and fun dance, fitness, yoga, singing and related activities. Our beneficiaries include older people, adults, those with special educational needs and other disadvantaged people, children and young people. Inclusivity is vital to us and we aim to ensure that neither finance, fitness, ability, disability nor family circumstance are barriers to participation.

When COVID-19 forced a national lockdown, here at Synergy, we carried on and did not stop in an effort to continue to reach our service users who needed our activities even more.  Funds were down, but that didn’t stop us, and we also wanted to keep our loyal team of talent in work and they all rose to the challenge of online delivery.

As weeks became months, and COVID-19 remained a high risk, I wanted to provide an all-inclusive online platform to host a diverse programme of online dance and yoga classes.  I wanted it to be something completely new to minimise the impact of coronavirus on the activity levels of people from under-represented groups, ensuring that the participation gaps did not widen during this period. I was keen to address inequalities in health and fitness uptake.

The lessons are new, fun, and tailored to each type of group. The platform includes courses for children, teens, adults and the elderly – who may choose from a wide range of activities and courses to keep fit, social and active for five main categories:

  • Special needs including autism and cerebral palsy
  • Visually impaired and blind
  • The disability community
  • Long term health conditions
  • The elderly

Our dance and yoga programmes are free for all ages via an easily accessible online platform. There is a variety of classes to choose from, including our bespoke brands seated Para Stars Dance™ and ParaStars Yoga®, and we innovated a new style of delivery with Synergy Audio Yoga™ and Synergy Audio Dance™.  We had already built a platform for mainstream activities, funded by Synergy mainstream, which reached global audiences during the first lockdown.

You can view a taster of our platform and vision, incorporating our #TogetherWeCan campaign, here: https://youtu.be/p9sX5iid5NI

With the rise of our audio content, a partnership with British Blind Sport soon followed, and Synergy now provide regular audio and live content for this wonderful charity and many others, who work so hard to provide a varied programme of activities for their members.

Why do we need home-based exercise?

Our home-based on-demand exercise is especially suitable for those with disabilities, special needs, long term health conditions or for health referrals, as transport, lack of mobility and low incomes can be a real barrier to taking part.

It’s widely accepted that obesity and inactivity are on the rise. In 2017, 30% of children aged 2 to 15 were overweight or obese and 65% of adults. Many children and adults are not getting their one hour of activity a day. On the mental health side, there are increasing numbers of children and young people with emotional and behavioural disorders – in 2017, one in eight children had at least one mental health disorder, hospitals seeing an increase in self-harm, depression and other mental health admissions and CAHMS referrals. Physical health is intrinsically linked to mental well-being.

What the stats say

Not everyone is suited to team or competitive sports. Disabled people are twice as likely to be inactive as non-disabled people with 53% saying this is due to “no activities suitable for me” and 46% saying “fear of not being welcome or no suitable environment”.

  • For people with disabilities, according to the charity Scope, of the 14.1 million disabled people in the UK, 8% are children, 19% are working age adults, and 45% are of pension age. Put simply, nearly 1 in 5 has some form of disability.
  • For Visually Impaired people, RNIB 2020 sight loss data shows there are currently 2,140,000 people in the UK with sight loss (1,820,000 England), comprising
    • 283,000 with severe sight loss (blindness) (242,000 in England)
    • 477,000 with partial sight (406,000 in England)
    • 1,380,000 with mild sight loss (1,170,000 in England).
  • For the elderly: According to Age UK, there are 3 million people in the UK aged 60 and above– a figure set to pass the 20 million mark by 2030.

Reports suggest that loneliness and mental health issues are on the rise, which is no surprise given the necessary COVID-19 restrictions which have been enforced in the last year.  Synergy wanted to encourage suitable fitness opportunities for the aging population as we felt the participation gaps were likely to widen during this period – with care home and residential Outreach activities on pause.

Most of us can just go out to exercise – walking, running, cycling etc – to keep fit at the moment – but those who are chair bound or who lack mobility, are far more restricted at this time and many have to stay shielding at home.

Research also shows the inactivity problem is worse among people with low socioeconomic status and this results in health inequalities which cost the public purse. The aim of our platform was to provide easy to access activities, with many free courses to encourage sustainable health behaviour changes – all made possible with the funding from Sport England/National lottery and partnership with EMD UK.

What does the future hold?

Our platform was designed to use technology that will enable easy onboarding of members to train and work their way through our carefully designed programmes which were created in consultation with service users to meet the widest possible spectrum of needs.

We know already from feedback and our market research that there is a growing need for the inclusive services we deliver, and research shows this to commonly be the case nationally. Our new platform enables us to support a more diverse range of needs from long term health conditions to different age groups of wheelchair users, which will make a significant difference and resilience to fear, anxiety and isolation, which is likely to be at an all-time low. Diversity of delivery has always been my vision – hence the name – Synergy.

Both our online and face to face programmes can help reduce inactivity and the consequent cost to health and social care in the UK by providing fun, online activities to do at home or in communal, face to face settings. This will help reduce the financial burden on health and social care and provide great value for money.

Our platform of classes will continue to evolve and innovate on a monthly basis – to continue to provide the upbeat and inclusive classes to motivate our members to keep fit and keep going – in what has been an exceptional year for us all.

To find out more, become a Synergy teacher, join our training programme or to book a class visit our websites:

http://synergydanceoutreach.co.uk

http://synergydance.co.uk

For partnership enquiries please contact admin@synergydance.co.uk

Transforming Lives

Transforming lives.

The long-term benefits of Synergy online dance, yoga and audios

Send ChildrenBy Rachael Hurton, founder

We all know that doing physical activity is proven to relieve stress, improve mental health and boost the immune system. Synergy Dance provide innovative dance and yoga activities in schools and leisure centres, serving both mainstream and the Special Needs and Disability community. At Synergy, no one is left behind.

Maintaining regular routines is very important – and during the Covid outbreak, Synergy took their activities online for a fully inclusive platform, so that their dance and yoga can be practiced outdoors/indoors, early morning, lunchtime or at the end of the day, on demand, at home or in a shared setting. It is a very flexible programme. This new platform delivery has been made possible with special thanks to EMD UK and Sport England/Lottery funding, to tackle inequalities in activity rates in the UK.

Synergy’s National platform of inclusive online classes reaches out to a diverse range of groups who are keen to keep fit but may not always have access to fit for purpose activities:

https://inclusive-dance-yoga.teachable.com/

The Synergy lessons are innovative and fun and tailored to each type of group. The platform includes courses for: children, teens, adults and the elderly – who may choose from a wide range of activities and courses to keep fit, social and active including: Special Needs including Autism & Cerebral Palsy; Visually Impaired and Blind; The Disability Community; Long Term Health Conditions; The elderly and Adults with a learning disability.

The dance and yoga programmes are FREE for all ages including seated Para Stars Dance™ and ParaStars Yoga®, our bespoke brands, Synergy Audio Yoga™ & Synergy Audio Dance™, a new style of delivery, with additional programmes for autism, cerebral palsy and those with learning difficulties – all via an easily accessible online platform. (Synergy also built a pilot platform for mainstream activities which reached global audiences during lockdown 1, funded by Synergy mainstream).

There is a lot of content for children – and the platform is also supporting teens, adults and the elderly. You can view a taster of the platform and vision below, incorporating our #Together We Can campaign:

The platform is easy to access with many free courses to encourage sustainable health and activity behaviour changes.

Benefits and how the online resources will transform lives:

We set up our platform to support improved mental health and wellbeing to under-represented groups. The main goals were to improve confidence and self-esteem and to improve fitness – with regular, fun activities to enjoy and look forward to.

Our yoga and dance audios, Special Needs lessons and ParaStars® Yoga and Dance seated classes are designed to:

  • Improve spatial awareness, balance and co-ordination and to improve posture– which is a major issue for both Visually impaired adults and children and the disability community.
  • Improve physical and motor skills
  • Improve ability in the disability community to act freely within their environment
  • Improve confidence and self-esteem, increasing independence and quality of life
  • Allow for decreased social isolation through participation, fun and building of skills

Synergy’s fully inclusive and innovative provision of dance and yoga improve both physical and mental well-being. Disabilities often affect whole families, not just the person affected and when a participant experiences improved quality of life via our program – this in turn has a positive impact on close family members, friends and carers who are always delighted to witness anticipated improvements such as confidence, better posture and new agility and skills.

The programmes have been designed in consultation with our participants to meet their specific needs, facilitating desired accessible service provision, co-designed by the participants themselves and helping to redress local health inequalities.

Participating in our seated activities will enable people of all ages and abilities to maintain fitness, flexibility, motor skills, core strength and improve posture which is very important to those who are restricted to seated activities or how lack mobility due to a long term health condition. They will also help to improve mental health and well-being and aid better sleep. The online lessons enable fun activities and using the imagination whilst being home bound, as we introduce props to our routines and enriching music. The online courses also improve general well-being and reduce feelings of stress and frustration at being confined to home – participants can do classes daily if they wish or several times a day and we encourage participants to build up regular patterns of exercise on a weekly basis which can become a natural part of their fitness routine. Sport England/Lottery funding enabled Synergy to offer these services quickly and efficiently online to those groups who were in danger of being left out of accessible exercise programmes. Our online pilot had already established a growing need for on demand activities at home.

The larger scope is that we will continue to develop our online programmes beyond Covid 19 and National lockdowns. Anticipated impacts on society and the economy are that more people from disadvantaged or inactive groups will take part in exercise because it is easy to access, without finance or travel as a barrier to taking part. This in turn will improve health and activity rates.

Inactivity causes a number of health-related illnesses

In 2006/2007, the estimated cost of physical inactivity to the NHS was:

£117 million for stroke, £542 million for heart disease, £65 million for colorectal cancers, £54 million for breast cancer and £158 million for type 2 diabetes. Academic research shows that the rising global burden of NCDs such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases, constitute a major and increasing public health challenge costing around $50 billion worldwide (Lancet. 2016;388:1311–24). There has been a great deal of academic research already which reveals that physical inactivity is the 4th leading cause of global mortality.

I believe Synergy can help to solve the societal challenges outlined above through our Synergy online courses, as we go beyond what we have successfully delivered to scale and have longevity, reach and benefit many more people, improving inclusivity, health and wellbeing for all across the UK.

Feedback so far…

Feedback so far shows that Synergy participants look forward to our activities as part of their weekly routine. The benefits of being able to continue the service online are:

1) Enabling the disability community to have more of the same choices and opportunities to participate in yoga and fitness activities as their non-disabled peers.

2) Our participants have built new friendships in face to face classes, so feel less isolated and have built resilience to social situations via the regular and repeated nature of the classes. Via both online dance and yoga, we have provided continuation online – the activities will break up their day and can be repeated and practiced as often as they need.

3) The participants have built confidence and self-esteem and had the opportunity to be creative and are encouraged to express themselves with freestyle sections in many workouts.

4) By having an active role in what they are doing participants feel positively empowered. The children we teach are also given challenges and goals, and so they learn the value of effort and hard work giving a sense of achievement on a weekly basis.

5) The participants have also become more active and physically fitter across the year, since we started our online platforms: what may have proved a challenge at first, became easier over time. They have enjoyed trying new fun activities, especially the audio yoga, which they had never experienced before. Some participants even asked us to “make it harder” as they travelled over the threshold from complete beginner to improver.

 

 

With Covid 19, we expect anxiety levels to be up – especially if tensions are picked up at home. Parents are now trying to juggle working from home and potentially supervising children, with disabilities. Our classes bring structure to the day and enable participants to improve their flexibility, motor skills, core strength and posture by repeating yoga postures.

The overall goal is improved physical and mental health and wellbeing (providing additional value by also improving feelings of confidence and wellbeing for disability families and carers) and helping to reduce the burden on health and social care services in regions throughout the UK. To find out more, become a Synergy teacher or to join a class visit our websites:

http://synergydance.co.uk/

Longevity

Change in lifestyle pattern

Option of on demand and face to face exercise

The Vision Behind Our New Inclusive Platform

All-inclusive exercise platform for all from Synergy

The vision behind it all and how we are transforming lives…

By founder of Synergy Dance – Rachael Hurton

 

Synergy Dance provide innovative dance and yoga activities in schools and leisure centres, serving both mainstream and the Special Needs and Disability community. At Synergy, no one is left behind.

Synergy Dance Outreach – the charity arm of Synergy – was set up to meet local need and create positive change, removing barriers to enable people experiencing disadvantage or marginalisation to improve physical and mental health and wellbeing through accessible, inclusive and fun dance, fitness, yoga, singing and related activities. Our beneficiaries include older people, those with “SEND” and other disadvantaged people, children and teenagers. Inclusivity is vital to us and we aim to ensure that neither finance, fitness, ability, disability nor family circumstance are barriers to participation.

When Covid-19 forced a National lockdown – at Synergy – we carried on and did not stop – in an effort to continue to reach our service users who had never needed our activities more – from one of our teen yoga participants, Rowan, who is blind, to isolated children with autism, or the elderly –simply battling with loneliness, poor health or lack of mobility. Funds were down – but that didn’t stop us – we also wanted to keep our loyal team of talent in work and they all rose to the challenge of online delivery.

As weeks became months, and Covid remained a high risk, as founder of Synergy Outreach, I wanted to provide an all-inclusive online platform – home to a diverse programme of online dance and yoga classes including lessons for those with a disability, long term health conditions, Visually Impaired/Blind, Special Needs and older adults. Something completely new to minimise the impact of coronavirus on the activity levels of people from under-represented groups, ensuring that the participation gaps did not widen during this period. I was keen to address inequalities in health and fitness uptake.

With incredible support from EMDUK and much-needed funding from Sport England/National Lottery, we launched our National platform, in just a few months, working round the clock to make it happen:

View Our Platform Here

The dance and yoga programmes are FREE for all ages including seated ParaStars Dance™ and ParaStars Yoga®, our bespoke brands, Synergy Audio Yoga™ & Synergy Audio Dance™, a new style of delivery, with additional programmes for autism, cerebral palsy and those with learning difficulties – all via an easily accessible online platform. (We had already built a platform for mainstream activities which reached global audiences during lockdown 1, funded by Synergy mainstream).

There is a lot of content for children – and we are also supporting teens, adults and the elderly. You can view a taster of our platform and vision below, incorporating our #Together We Can campaign:

The lessons are new and fun and tailored to each type of group. The platform includes courses for: children, teens, adults and the elderly – who may choose from a wide range of activities and courses to keep fit, social and active for 5 main categories:

*Special Needs including Autism & Cerebral Palsy*

*Visually Impaired and Blind*

*The Disability Community*

*Long Term Health Conditions*

*The elderly*

With the rise of our audio content, a partnership with British Blind Sport soon followed, and Synergy now provide regular audio and live content for this wonderful charity, who work so hard to provide a varied programme of activities for their members.

Why do we need home based exercise?

Our home based on demand exercise is especially suitable for those with disabilities, special needs, long term health conditions or for health referrals, as transport, lack of mobility and low incomes can be a real barrier to taking part.

It’s common knowledge now that obesity and inactivity are on the rise. In 2017, 30% of children aged 2 to 15 were overweight or obese and 65% of adults. Many children and adults are not getting their one hour of activity a day. On the mental health side, there are increasing numbers of children and young people with emotional and behavioural disorders – in 2017, 1 in 8 children had at least 1 mental health disorder, hospitals are seeing increase in self-harm, depression and other mental health admissions and CAHMS referrals. Physical health is intrinsically linked to mental well-being.

What the stats say…

According to the charity Scope, there are 14.1 million disabled people in the UK and according to RNIB Sight loss data, over 350,000 people registered blind. Not everyone is suited to team or competitive sports. Disabled people are twice as likely to be inactive as non-disabled people with 53% saying this is due to “no activities suitable for me” and 46% saying “fear of not being welcome or no suitable environment”. For people with disabilities, according to SCOPE, https://www.scope.org.uk/media/disability-facts-figures/ there are: 13.9 disabled people in the UK, 8% of children are disabled, 19% of working age adults are disabled, 45% of pension age adults are disabled. Or put simply, nearly 1 in 5 has some form of disability.

For Visually Impaired people, RNIB 2020 sight loss data shows: 2,140,000 people in the UK currently with sight loss (1,820,000 England) 283,000 with severe sight loss (blindness) (242,000 in England) and 477,000 with partial sight (406,000 in England) and 1,380,000 with mild sight loss (1,170,000 in England).

For the elderly: According to Age UK, there are 15.3 million people in the UK aged 60 and above – a figure set to pass the 20 million mark by 2030. Reports suggest that loneliness and mental health issues are on the rise, which is no surprise given the necessary Covid restrictions which have been enforced in the last year.  Synergy wanted to encourage suitable fitness opportunities for the aging population as we felt the participation gaps were likely to widen during this period – with care home and residential Outreach activities on pause.

Most of us can just go out to exercise walking, running, cycling etc. to keep fit at the moment, but those who are chair bound or who lack mobility, are far more restricted at this time – as many have to stay shielding at home.

Research also shows the inactivity problem is worse among people with low socioeconomic status and this results in health inequalities which cost the public purse. The aim of our platform was to provide easy to access activities, with many free courses to encourage sustainable health behaviour changes – all made possible with the funding from Sport England/National lottery and partnership with EMDUK.

What does the future hold?

Our platform was designed to use technology that will enable easy onboarding of members to train and work their way through our carefully designed programmes, created in consultation with service users to meet the widest possible spectrum of needs.

We know already from feedback and our market research, that there is a growing need for the inclusive services we deliver, and research shows this to commonly be the case nationally. Our new platform enables us to support a more diverse range of needs from long term health conditions to different age groups of wheelchair users, which will make a significant difference and resilience to fear, anxiety and isolation, which is likely to be at an all-time low. Diversity of delivery has always been my vision – hence the name – Synergy.

Both our online and face to face programmes can help reduce inactivity and the consequent cost to health and social care in the UK by providing fun, online activities to do at home or in communal, face to face settings. This will help reduce the financial burden on health and social care and provide great value for money.

Our platform of classes will continue to evolve and innovate on a monthly basis – to continue to provide the upbeat and inclusive classes to motivate our members to keep fit, and keep going – in what has been an exceptional year for us all.

To find out more, become a Synergy teacher or to join a class visit our websites:

Synergy Dance Ltd

Synergy Dance Outreach