As a Community Interest Company we are always looking to measure our social impact. Some of our research and evaluation studies include;
• An Evaluation report by Sheffield Hallam University and Manchester Metropolitian University identifying the benefits of our partner dancing programme for people affected by an illness with no cure.
• An evaluation report for Weston Park Cancer hospital for people living with and beyond cancer.
• An evaluation report on the physical and mental health benefits of the seated dancing programme during the pandemic.
• Working with Sheffield United Community Foundation we are evaluating our programmes impact for people affected by cancer.
We're planning to extend our research to many other long term health conditions too, such as diabetes, heart and lung conditions and age related illnesses. We're also looking at the positive impacts of partner dancing on mental health.
Never before has anyone used partner dancing as a physical and social activity for patients with or affected by an illness with no cure, within the hospice environment.
Sheffield's Hospice, St Luke's are the first hospice in the UK to pilot the new programme. The programme has been developed to take into account the limitations of patients with an incureable illness. The aim of the programme is to improve the physical activity and well-being of these patients and their partners. It allows partners to participate, increasing the quality of life for the patient; allowing them to enjoy being in the moment together.
Coping with the physical and psychological changes associated with an incureable illness can be extremely difficult, but being physically active can help people cope better with these changes. Engaging in a fun activity will improve their physical, psychological and social well-being. The 'Dancing for Health' programme provides an opportunity to better support patients and their partners.
The evidence from the year long programme was evaluated and researched by Sheffield Hallam University and Manchester Metropolitan University. The evaluation used both quantitative and qualiative methods to assess the impact of our programme on physical and mental well being and relationships. The research showed that eight weeks of Dancing for Health classes leads to a reduction in perceived stress for those with an illness with no cure, their partners, or the bereaved; and for partners, there was an improvement in social functioning.
Chesterfield Royal Hospital are the first hospital in the UK to pilot the new programme. The aim of the programme is to improve the physical activity and well-being of recovering cancer patients and their partners. The classes are provided at the hospital free to people getting active after cancer treatment.
Leading a physically active lifestyle during and after cancer treatment is linked to an improvement in many of the adverse effects of cancer and its treatments. Being active can help to prevent and manage some of the effects of treatment, such as overcoming fatigue, depression, anxiety, muscle wasting whilst also protecting risks to the heart, lungs and bones. Yet only a small percentage of people affected by cancer are regularly physically active. We are hoping that the Dancing for Health programmes offer an alternative physical activity plan where they can also bring a partner for support and encouragement. It will also provide a new skill that they can take away and use at home to stay active everyday.
The Classes are relaxed, fun and easy to learn. The dance style is gentle and safe and particularly suitable for recovering cancer patients of all ages.
The classes are running for 8 weeks, and will be a pilot study. The final results and evaluation of this pilot will be written up by Liam Humpreys, Researcher for Sheffield Hallam University and Project Manager for Macmillan Active Everyday Programme. We would like to establish the importance of activities like this in relation to people living with and beyond cancer, so a further and longer research study is planned working with Weston Park Cancer Hospital.
We are working with Drink Wise Age Well and Age UK to provide partner dance classes within a community setting to help people with age or drink related issues.
There is an increase in people aged over 50 who are turning to alcohol. Drink Wise Age Well and Dancing for Health are collaborating to encourage this group of people to take up a social activity like partner dancing within their local community. Our aim is to improve their health, their relationships, either personal or social and also potentially boost energy levels and self confidence.
The classes will engage them in a new, fun and interesting hobby that initiates socialising without alcohol in a group activity with others aged over 50 who may also be over coming or facing similar difficulties to themselves.