Improving the health and wellbeing within diverse cultural communities in Harlow through movement and dance.
Through dance and drumming, the sessions brought communities across Harlow together, playing an important role following an increase in social isolation during the covid-19 pandemic. The fun yet intensive dancing has helped to tackle health inequalities such as heart disease/high blood pressure, diabetes, stress and mental health in black communities.
Harlow has the highest percentage of Black and Minority Ethnic Residents in Essex at 16.15% (ECC JSNA data 2019) and yet cultural groups such as Efua Sey and PATACC have evidence that residents in communities suffer from social isolation.
The original project involved weekly African dance sessions for adults aged 30 years+ and was designed for adults who cannot afford to participate in fee paying gym/ leisure centre activities. The sustained legacy sessions involve drumming and dance movements that enable the participants to burn excess body fat to positively influence a decline in obesity and ultimately stay fit.
The project also serves as a social club that brings adults of different cultural backgrounds in Harlow together for socialisation that has helped to tackle and reduce social isolation. African communities from Senegal ,Ghana, Kenya, and Sudan have taken part in these dance workshops. As a result, the dances included in the weekly sessions were selected from across various sub-Saharan African Countries. For example the Azania from South Africa.
This case study video absolutely demonstrates the power that physical activity has to unite and strengthen communities here in Harlow. Driven and passionate organisations such as Efua Sey are locally trusted with residents and really help advocate the benefits of improved health and wellbeing through dance.Rachel Lewis, Active Essex Relationship Manager West Essex