Decision details

PH 06/2021 - Dance on

Decision Maker: Director of Public Health

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


Dance On is a programme currently funded by Sport England delivered in Leeds, Bradford and Doncaster supported by One Dance UK. It is now coming to the end of the Sport England directly funded activity (March 21). Dance On increases the physical activity levels and reduces social isolation in women over 55. This test and learn programme is delivered in partnership with Leeds University who have been investigating the changes in physical and psychological wellbeing. The decision has been taken to award further work to begin development for the Local Delivery Pilot programme and Workforce Development Plan in April 2021 via a grant agreement to Darts. Darts are ready to carry the work out and they have already built a robust strategy for delivery as they respond to both local and national restrictions under COVID. They have carried this learning with them into 2021.

The decision has been taken as part of the Get Doncaster Moving Local Delivery Pilot Investment Plan 4, awarded by Sport England and approved by Cabinet in August 2020. The Cabinet Approval included delivery of Dance On and associated workforce development by Darts. A recurring theme that the LDP has identified from surveys, appreciative inquiry and the findings from BJL’s (our communications delivery partner) work on the communications engagement activities, is that ‘traditional’ formal activity is not always the answer for our communities. The leap from inactive to active is more attractive if we can nudge and create
smaller changes which are accessible, perceived as achievable, and provide short term benefits.

Dance offers a number of key benefits:

• Dance combines physical activity with social interaction and creative expression, thus providing benefits to participants’ mental health and emotional wellbeing, as well as their physical health.
• Dance can be more effective at engaging inactive people as it viewed as a fun social activity that can be initiated at any level of ability.
• Dance is popular amongst women and girls who generally are more inactive than men and boys.
• Dance can engage with participants from diverse backgrounds – e.g. socioeconomic, cultural, etc. – and can be used to celebrate these differences.
The plan for delivery is:
• Resume face to face activity, when restrictions are lifted, in Covid Secure community venues. Establishing up to 3 new Dance On groups in Year 1
• Weekly Dance On Zoom classes – inclusive, accessible dance classes (up to 2 a week)
• Dance On Specials delivered on Zoom x 3 per year
• Explore alternative ways of engagement for those offline including ‘Dance On Doorsteps’ to involve those who are much more isolated or frail. Those who are shielding, and who don’t currently connect on Zoom or feel happy leaving their house.
• Continue to signpost to online Dance On videos for those who want to access a warm-up, class and/or cool down in their own time. Create more content in response to demand
• Offer tasters to attract new partners and participants. This will continue to spread the Dance ON / GDM message and help identify new potential groups and geographical areas.
• Support face to face Dance On sessions with some of our most vulnerable / isolated members through partnership with Age UK Doncaster
• Promote the University of Leeds Dance On impact findings and research publications to the Health and wellbeing board, Get Doncaster Moving, local strategic partners and at any relevant national events/ conferences
• DARTS to partner with the GDM team and Public Health to help deliver the shared message of how Dance can tackle physical inactivity and promote positive mental health
• Maintain regular telephone contact with participants to check in personally, share information about the continued Dance On offer, consult on ideas, collate feedback on what participants want/need and offer one to one technical support to enable those not yet online to engage digitally.
• Identify new key partners in the community, key venues and locations. (To include Social Prescribing, Well Doncaster, Locality staff, Community Connectors)
Workforce development (2021-2022)
• Development opportunities for non-dancers (sports background) to develop dance skills
• Development opportunities for new dancers to develop skills needed to deliver Dance On sessions
• Dance practitioner training for Dance On team
• Dance training for Dance On development artist
• Work with the keenest participants and partners to support them to become ambassadors for the project. Offer training and free sessions to these ambassadors.
We will:
• Consolidate our learning in order to deliver a sustainable scalable model.
• Develop 6 Dance On groups across the borough running throughout the year
• Focus on increasing our reach and geographical spread. We will test our model in a number of new disadvantaged communities. These communities will meet our ‘Dance On model’ criteria and will be in areas recommended by our Public Health partners. We will deliver more taster sessions to widen our reach, promote the sessions and to test the ground for new groups to be established.
• Ensure 60% of the programme is sustainable. By sustainable we mean the number of participants attending, each paying £3 per session will cover the cost of the room hire and the artist delivering. This will not cover the cost of the project management and admin team collecting any necessary data.
• Invest in development time and share the research findings more widely with a wide range of national, regional and local partners.
• Recruit Dance On Champions - active community members, connected with the wider community offer (e.g. church, day centre).
• Develop our workforce (as per our Test and Learn Workforce Development Proposal).
• Upskill communities and partners. Support partners to deliver in their existing services such as with Age UK.
• Develop our local Dance Champions to maintain growth, to advocate locally and attract more people to attend. Support and reward their engagement, encouraging them to bring together more isolated members of the community.

The costs associated with the above is £110,078 over 2 years. The budget has been identified from the Local Delivery Pilot grant awarded by Sport England, meaning there is no funding being sought from existing Council Budgets.


To Award Dance On! Work to DARTs at a cost of up to £110,078.00 over 2 years (AS detailed in the attached Officer Decision Record).

Alternative options considered:


Not to fund the programme
This would limit our options in Doncaster, and would mean we would not be able to deliver part of the Local Delivery Pilot, which is in the grant agreement with Sport England. We would also lose the learning from the programme which will inform our approach to the LDP going forward.

To put the programme out to full ITT procurement
Darts are the only recognised provider of Dance On! model in Doncaster, and therefore the funding award form Sport England stipulates that Darts are the lead delivery organisation for all Dance On activity funded by the Sport England Local Delivery Pilot. The Investment Plan (see background papers) demonstrates the evidence behind this decision. Therefore, this option would mean that we would be breaking the funding agreement in place with Sport England and the decision made by Cabinet.

Publication date: 08/04/2021

Date of decision: 07/04/2021

Accompanying Documents: