Dance for Neurology sessions develop because of £206k National Lottery grant

Dance for Neurology sessions for patients with acquired brain injury can develop because of £206k National Lottery grant

dance for neurology group session30 September 2021

Dance for Neurology sessions proved very popular with patients at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability (RHN), most of whom are wheelchair users because of a life changing brain injury caused by accident or illness. A two-year dance for neurology pilot on two wards was so successful, that the National Lottery Community Fund has awarded CoDa Dance Company £206, 222 to expand the service at RHN to more patients and residents over the next three years.

People who have a brain injury have complex communication problems, cognitive and physical disabilities, and can experience anxiety, depression, loneliness and isolation. Staff and families have reported that after CoDa’s Dance for Neurology sessions have a positive impact on communal life on their wards, helping them to get to know each other by dancing together, improves cognitive attention, and that mood and energy levels were lifted.

CoDa Dance is a disability-led contemporary dance charity that does things differently. Having specialised in dance activity that compliments physiotherapy rehabilitation for people with acquired brain injury and conditions like MS since 2013, CoDa have developed an exceptionally inclusive methodology that includes even the most profoundly disabled people in dancing and moving as a group. Clinical and support staff, as well as carers and family members, are always integrated in sessions to ensure they are effective, relevant and joyful.

Artistic Director of CoDa Dance, Nikki Watson, said, “A common misconception is that we are the entertainment that dance at people. We create dance with people. In every session we’re creating something new together. By valuing every contribution, we empower people to express themselves. I have lived experience of the impacts of neurological disabilities can have as my mum has MS. This has driven me to build a strong relationship with RHN and to always try to find the fun and the laughter in sessions.”

Occupational Therapist, Jenny Porteous, said, “We all loved having CoDa on the ward. We saw some wonderful participation from patients with a variety of abilities. Barriers in their day-to-day lives seemed to be lowered when dancing. There is always plenty of smiling and laughter from both staff and patients when CoDa are on the ward.”

Leisure and Family Services Project Manager, Brenda Berge said, ‘We are so grateful to the National Lottery players and the National Lottery Community Fund, whose generosity will make such a difference to the lives of our patients and residents.’