Supporting World Parkinson's Disease Day

Today, the world observes World Parkinson's Disease Day, and throughout April, the Parkinson's Foundation is asking everyone to take actions to impact the future of Parkinson’s disease - whether that means learning how to navigate your own future with Parkinson’s or helping to create a world without the disease. Together, we can make a difference.

Forest Arts Centre in New Milton is running a month-long fundraiser to help support their ongoing Parkinson's Dance class. Facilitating seasonal sessions every Monday since 2018, with on average 15 participants each session, including those with Parkinson's, their carers and partners, the class has become an integral part of the Forest Arts programme and has paved the way for more wellbeing focused classes and events.

Parkinson’s Dance and its impact
Forest Arts Centre in New Milton is marking Parkinson’s Awareness Month throughout April with a month-long fundraiser across our website and in-venue, raising money for our ongoing Parkinson’s Dance Class. #CultureOnCall #HereForCulture

In the last few years, we have hosted Parkinson’s walks, wellness cafés and also introduced online classes during the lockdowns. For World Parkinson's Disease Day last year, we produced a Culture on Call article about this activity and its impact - read more now.

An elderly man waving an orange coloured cloth in the air
Forest Arts' Parkinson's Dance

In 2021, as a result of its community efforts, the Parkinson’s Dance class was chosen as the New Milton’s Mayors Charity - but what is it specifically about the class that makes it so valuable?

Featured in the Why Dance? study published in 2021, the research involved a unique three-year longitudinal feasibility study with two key aims:

  1. To find out if it is feasible to collect and measure long-term outcomes of the Parkinson’s Dance classes for dancers
  2. To explore what long-term impact Parkinson’s Dance classes might have on measurements of quality of life

This questionnaire-based study saw 46 dancers from four Parkinson’s Dance classes (Forest Arts', PDSW, Artslink Sherborne and Dorchester Arts) share their progress in measured physical ability and quality of life transitioning over two years.

A creative, animated response to the study was produced by illustrator Corrianna Clarke in collaboration with Jo Tyler (audio) and Gary Hayton (music) with input from Dr Sophia Hulbert can be found below.

The researchers concluded that it was possible to integrate research into natural community dance class settings, giving authentic, meaningful and ‘real life’ understanding. Over the long term, there was an impact on dancers' physical, emotional and social self with all aspects of quality of life showing improvement and two-thirds of dancers either maintained or improved their physical ability against an expected Parkinson’s decline.

These exciting results give direction and hope for future research and better public management of Parkinson’s for those living with it every day.

For more information on the Why Dance? report, please visit the PDSW website: Why Dance? - Pavilion Dance South West (PDSW)

We need your help so that we can continue to support people living with Parkinson’s. Please support our Parkinson's Dance classes and donate today in centre or online!

"Exercise, exercise, exercise - you can't get enough of it. Thank you for all the thought you are putting to our wellbeing! "
Participant feedback

By donating today, you’re helping us continue providing activities for people living with this condition and their carers. Thank you.

For more information and support please visit the Parkinson's UK website.

This article was written by:
Author image

Jasmine Taylor

Community Programme Coordinator at Forest Arts Centre in charge of Classes, Workshop and Community Outreach projects to engage and enrich the local New Milton Community.
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