Leeds-based manufacturer extends financial support to help children follow dancing dream

Olivia Choi (left, back row), professional dancer and teacher at Freedom 2 Dance, with Ian Short, MD of Morley Glass, with some of the budding dancers benefiting from the company’s support.

Financial support from specialist integral blind manufacturer Morley Glass has enabled more than 100 young people in West Yorkshire to develop their dancing abilities through professional training scholarships at a Castleford dance school.

The company has funded the scholarships since 2018 at Freedom 2 Dance, a thriving community-focused dance school which is dedicated to increasing accessibility to dancing. One of the ways they do this is to ‘level the playing field’ by offering scholarships to children, which means they can benefit from professional dance tuition regardless of background or personal circumstances.

Freedom 2 Dance was first introduced to Morley Glass managing director Ian Short after he took the plunge into dancing himself by signing up to a Strictly Come Dancing style challenge to raise money for charity. Ever since, Ian has remained passionate about dancing and the power it has to be able to build the confidence of young people, improve their wellbeing and even transform lives.

In addition to the 100+ scholarships funded to date by Morley Glass, the company has confirmed its backing for a further 24 students this year. This will enable Freedom 2 Dance to reach out to children who may otherwise be unable to access additional dance training to support their development, according to director, Michelle Dickinson.

“We’ve seen the far-reaching benefits that the scholarships bring to children so it’s fantastic to be able to continue them in 2023,” said Michelle.

“The children benefit in particular by developing new friendships and confidence, which boosts their social skills and can transform their wellbeing and mental health. In addition, our teachers have clearly seen the development of interpersonal skills such as teamwork, communication and improved self-esteem, which will go on to serve them throughout their personal and working lives.”

Freedom 2 Dance scholarships are provided in two categories depending on the stage that budding dancers are at – level 1 is ‘Gifted & Talented’ and level 2 is for children seeking to try something new. The scholarships are open to any child who is already be a part of Freedom 2 Dance community and those selected for a scholarship benefit from either one private lessons per month or a 40-minute class every week.

Ian Short, MD of Morley Glass added: “We are delighted to be able to support Freedom 2 Dance and look forward to seeing this year’s students build their ability and flourish. Over the past four years we’ve seen the value of Freedom 2 Dance’s work in breaking down the barriers that often prevent children taking up dancing and the value of this cannot be understated given how beneficial dance can be to our physical and mental health overall.”

Morley Glass, which employs 110 people at its factory in Morley, is Europe’s biggest manufacturers of double and triple glazed units that have built-in Venetian or pleated blinds, producing an average of 16,000 units every month. These are sold to window installers across the UK.

More information on Freedom 2 Dance can be found at: www.freedom2dance.co.uk.

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