There are a total of 90 Inspire projects operational in Northern Ireland, 64 of these were developed locally. It is estimated that the local projects alone are creating almost one million opportunities for people in Northern Ireland to take part in activities inspired by the 2012 Games.
Helen Hall, Luminous Soul
To date, the Luminous Soul Inspire project has worked with over 80 disabled people who have an interest in dance. The project has made it possible for some of these individuals to try dance for the first time
How did you get involved in this project?
I’ve worked a bit with Open Arts through visual art that I do. They knew I was interested in dance so I was asked along. We also did development days to see who would really flourish through taking part so most participants also attended a development day and then were asked to take part in the project.
The project started more than two years ago and it gives opportunities to dancers with disabilities to gain some more experience in that field and be involved in some training with local and international choreographers. I’ve always been interested in dance. I’ve been dancing since I was a child so it’s been really great to get involved in the project. It’s a fantastic project to be a part of. There’s so many great people also involved and so many great opportunities that we get to take part in that you just wouldn’t get without it.
What has this project helped you to achieve?
Participants have had the chance to work with really great choreographers and to help develop their own skills within dance, and the chance to gain an opportunity that maybe isn’t open to everybody in the dance world. Sometimes it’s hard to find good dance classes that really challenge you as a disabled person. It gives a really good opportunity to the participants and it helps take them further along the career path they might want to follow within dance.
I’ve got loads out of this as an individual. I have actually decided to go back and study dance as a mature student, so I’m doing that at Belfast Metropolitan College. Because I’ve done dance for so long I’ve got to that point where I want to keep going further and further with it. Working in inclusive dance is something that is really interesting to me as a disabled dancer. This has given me great opportunities to develop my skills within that field, more direction as to where I can go and what I can do with it, and a good push in the right direction!
How have you been inspired by London 2012, in particular through your involvement in this project?
Anything that is linked to the Olympic and Paralympic Games that can have a more far-reaching effect beyond that is obviously going to be a good thing, especially in the arts and the creative industries.
Project organiser: BEAM Creative Network
ImagineAction invites young people to broaden their skills through a range of workshops designed to build a bridge between the arts and sport.
This three-year Legacy Trust UK project ran from September 2009 until November 2011 and aimed to train young people with a sporting background in various elements of the arts, including dance, drama and song. Over 70 young people drawn from various sporting clubs – including football, Gaelic football, sailing, rugby and basketball – took part. Participants had the opportunity to learn raw drama, puppetry, hip hop dance and scriptwriting, and take masterclasses from some of the best in the business.
The young people performed in front of music industry mogul and X Factor judge Louis Walsh, Boyzone singer Shane Lynch, and Eastenders actor John Partridge, and enjoyed workshops with a host of locally-based drama and dance tutors, as well as Britain’s Got Talent winner George Sampson.
The finale – Punch! the Musical – was a new all-singing all-dancing extravaganza which took Donaghmore by storm in mid-November. ImagineAction mentor Shane Lynch dropped by and was impressed by how the young people had grown in confidence and skill over the course of the project.
5-Star Disability Sports Challenge
Project organiser: Disability Sports NI
5-Star Disability Sports Challenge is a groundbreaking programme that focuses on educating young people about disability, disability sports and the Paralympic Games. Firstly, an awareness-raising presentation designed to be both educational and fun is delivered to all pupils from Primary 1–7 by two presenters, at least one of whom will be an elite athlete with a disability. This is followed by the older children taking part in a practical session of challenges involving a circuit of five activities, which are each based on a Paralympic sport.
The project aims to highlight and promote the benefits of disability sport to the public in Northern Ireland, to transform commonly held negative attitudes and perceptions about people with disabilities, and to inspire and encourage more disabled and non-disabled primary school children to become more active in sport.
Since it was launched in March 2009, 5-Star has reached over 20,000 children in over 200 schools across Northern Ireland, and overwhelmingly positive feedback has been received from both the teachers and children involved. It has been showcased in the UK’s Disability Action Plan and is also being shared internationally through the International Inspiration programme. It has been showcased to the Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure, Seb Coe, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Allen, Chris Holmes, Janet Gray and Mary Peters.
Contact the Inspire Programmer in Northern Ireland