Staff from Epsom and St Helier hospitals are helping a local dance company achieve their dreams of competing at the World Street Dance Championships, raising donations of over £1,000 to send the troupe to Scotland at the end of August.
Xpressions Dance Crew, who train in Sutton and Hackbridge, qualified for the world championships earlier this year but needed a little extra help to raise the money to send 11 young dancers to Glasgow for the competition.
Jocylyn Carlisle, mum of one of the dancers and a member of staff at St Helier Hospital, helped by encouraging her colleagues to sponsor a number of fundraising events. She said: “We have been really busy doing lots of fundraising, from cake sales to five-a-side football matches for the dads and a dance-off for the mums – which I took part in myself! In total, we’ve raised almost £6,000, with £1,000 of that coming from ICTS who provide the security services to the hospitals. We are all really grateful to everyone who has sponsored one of our events.”
Crew instructor Natalie Ward, who used to work at Epsom Hospital, said that competing in the championships initially seemed out of reach, but that a combination of the dancers’ hard work and generous donations received has made their dream a reality: “It has been so lovely to see that there are so many kind people out there. The children, parents, teachers and I are extremely appreciative of all the support we have received.”
"I am so proud of each and every one of the children: they all really deserve this opportunity. Over the past year I have had the pleasure of seeing them grow as dancers and as individuals. So far it's been an amazing journey.”
The World Street Dance Championships take place from Friday 28 to Sunday 30 August 2015, and Natalie is confident that the Xpressions team will make the local community proud: “They have trained so hard and there is no doubt in my mind that they will give everything they have to do the best they can in the competition.”