Jackie Terry (on the left) and Margaret Whitcombe (on the right) are Dancing for Well-Being group leaders. Jackie is also a Director and founder of the organisation.
Dancing for Well-Being was initially established by Jackie in January 2015. The benefits to group members have been recognised by a number of voluntary and statutory organisations and, with support from North Yorkshire County Council, the organisation became a Social Enterprise in the form of a Community Interest Company on 28th September 2016.
I was born and brought up in London but moved to Harrogate in 1980 and now I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.
Over the years I’ve had a variety of different jobs but have sometimes felt like a square peg in a round hole. With Dancing for Well-Being I’ve found something I love doing and that’s a great feeling!
The year 2009 was a turning point for me. I’d become more interested in keeping fit – I’d taken up running and aquafit, and to counteract my sore muscles, I did Pilates too. In the early 2000s I’d really enjoyed doing some research work with older people and these two very different experiences gave me the idea of training to run exercise classes for older people.
After completing a course in chair-based exercise I was employed as an Ageing Well Instructor by Age UK North Yorkshire to provide seated exercise classes for older people in Harrogate.
My light-bulb moment happened in 2010 when I went on a course called “Circle Dancing in Dementia“. Dancing in a circle is an ancient tradition common to many cultures for marking special occasions, strengthening community and encouraging togetherness. The aim is to experience the joy of dancing with others and to create a sense of well-being, connection and belonging.
It was clear to me that circle dancing could be adapted to suit people with various different abilities, illnesses and impairments, as well as people with dementia. I found circle dancing so emotionally uplifting – something I hadn’t experienced with seated exercise – so immediately started using what I’d learned in my groups.
I went on to do more training, including, for example, dementia awareness training, a Jabadao course, which gave me lots of ideas for adding interaction and fun with props, and a 60-hour Introduction to Dance Movement Psychotherapy with Dance Voice. I’m always on the look-out for opportunities for Margaret and me to develop our skills and experience and enhance what we offer at group sessions.
I have lived and worked in North Yorkshire since 1997. I’ve always been interested in health and well-being and before moving here I worked as a nurse and complementary therapist.
Since 1997 I’ve worked with elderly and unwell people in their own homes, and I’ve found this both rewarding and inspiring, as well as an honour and a privilege.
I love music and dancing and began circle dancing in 1994. In 2003/4 I trained to be a Circle Dance Teacher and currently run 3 regular groups. I met Jackie through circle dancing and became interested in finding out more about her Dancing for Well-Being groups. I went along to a session and LOVED it!
After a period of volunteering and training Jackie asked me to co-run a new group in Knaresborough with her. I’m finding this so uplifting and enormous FUN! It’s just great to see how much members enjoy the dancing and the socialising, and are finding it beneficial.
Dancing for Well-Being is a member of People Dancing (the Foundation for Community Dance). We are fully insured through People Dancing and both Jackie and Margaret have Enhanced Criminal Record Certificates from the Disclosure & Barring Service.