"EMPOWERMENT THROUGH DANCE: MAKING A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE TO YOUNG PEOPLE'S LIVES"
TR14ers, named by the young residents after their post-code, is a youth led Community Dance Charity based in Camborne, Cornwall. It was originally set up in 2005 when the Camborne Neighbourhood Police Team, looking for new ways to reduce youth related anti-social behaviour (ASB), undertook the first ever Connecting Communities (C2) programme, developed by frontline health practitioners at Exeter University.
During a C2 Listening Event the young people stated clearly there was nothing positive for them to do and that they’d love to learn street dance. The Police worked with them to set up workshops resulting in transformative outcomes in terms of health, increased educational attainment and reduced ASB and over ensuing years, when the Police stepped back, TR14ers evolved into a self-managing charity. Over a decade on the young people have survived many challenges, displaying immense resilience and it’s estimated to have benefitted over 2000 young people since it began. They have also inspired other equally challenged young people in communities across the UK to start their own dance groups as part of the C2 programme. However since the economic downturn and widespread cutbacks , a severe lack of funding has meant that this extraordinary dance charity has come very close to closure. Only the incredible will of the young people, teachers and volunteers has just about kept them afloat.
Each week free dance sessions are held on a Friday evening from 4.30pm until 6.30pm for the dance members and then 6.30pm – 8.30pm for Dance Leaders. Each session attracts up to 60 young people ranging from 5 to 21yr olds. What is unique about TR14ers is that the young people self-organise to lead the dance sessions. The young self selecting Dance Leaders are trained and taught how to deliver dance sessions and given time and space to choreograph their own routines. They then take turns to teach a huge room of young people ranging massively in dance ability.
To see this in action is incredible and a great example of what we now understand to be health creation. It’s one thing for dance sessions to be run by professional dance teachers and something else, much more powerful to watch a young person teaching, holding attention and inspiring up to 60 young people who are their peers.
Half of the Board of Trustees are young Dance Leaders that teach at the sessions. As charity directors they learn new skills, have ownership and a credible voice.
Since the charity has started they have placed huge emphasis on empowering the young leaders to start gaining even more recognition for what they do. TR14ers has received various local awards as well as National recognition for the work they do with young people, including The Trojan Mice Health Creation Award 2017 from the NHS Alliance and the Camborne Town Plaque for services with young people.
TR14ers also has backing and funding from the National Lottery, Devon and Cornwall Constabulary and Children In Need.
TR14ers makes a difference to Camborne because it enables young people to really believe that they can achieve anything they put their mind to and strive for their goals. They are treated with respect and listened to. They are valued. This instils in them hope as well as positive life skills. Many of the TR14ers have accessed Higher Education leading to a fantastic range of employment opportunities. Many others have successfully raised families and so are role models for a new generation
Here are a few quotes from the young people and a parent.
Emily 13 – TR’s means a lot to me because I haven’t been at TRs long and ever since I’ve joined my life has been so much better. TR’s has helped me in my confidence issues and helped me stay out of trouble. I have friends at TRs that I didn’t know nearly a year ago and now I feel like I can tell them anything’
Bea 13 – TRs mean a lot to me. TRs have impacted my life a lot. If it wasn’t for TRs I wouldn’t of had such great opportunities. I think that TRs has helped me with my confidence and ability. TRs have made me more confident so helped me to make really good connections with my peers Xx is that alright?
Tia 14 – TRs is basically my safe haven… It’s where I can share my troubles with others, it’s the thing that I always look forward to every week. It’s definitely impacted my life because when I joined a few years ago I was a timid little girl with confidence issues. However, this charity had enabled me to be ambitious and gave me a social and healthy lifestyle. Everyone there is like my second family, and I’ve made so many amazing memories with them.
Sophie 14 – TRs means a lot to me and not only in a way where I like to dance. It’s also a place where I can let all my troubles go and become more confident. I’ll admit I have troubles outside of dance and I don’t tell anyone about it but when I come I don’t feel intimidated by anyone because it’s such a great atmosphere. It has definitely helped with confidence because I was always so shy at school and at dance when I first came. It helped me bring out my confident side and still getting better. I definitely wouldn’t have had this life if it weren’t for TRs and I don’t care about how good or bad I am at dancing because the whole point is putting away your feelings and having fun and that is exactly what TRs does.
TR14 ERS from a parent perspective: They give…. the chance of having amazing instructors that will teach my daughter that dance is not just about movement but about life… The opportunity: to learn to be disciplined, to learn to take care of her body, to learn to work with others and to be a proud, supportive, kind and respectful team member, to learn to deal with disappointment, to learn to make and accomplish goals, to learn that it takes hours and hours of hard work and practice to achieve success for everything in life, and that success does not happen overnight. TR14ers provides my daughter with the ability to develop attributes that will serve her well throughout her life and give her the opportunity to bless the lives of others through dance. TR14ers are not just a Charity dance group they are a family to all these young children, teenagers and adults.