Creatability is a yearlong programme that will offer 50 young people with additional support needs the opportunity to take part in inspirational aerial dance sessions. The weekly sessions will be delivered by All or Nothing, Scotland’s leading aerial dance practitioners working closely with Waterbaby Dance, a leading company in Scotland who specialise in working with young people with additional needs. These sessions will culminate in an exciting performance piece presented at the Beacon Arts Centre for participant’s family, friends and the wider community to attend.

Aerial dance is unique in the movement possibilities it opens up for a disabled young person. It incorporates ropes or silks often attached to the ceiling allowing participants to explore space in three dimensions. This is an especially liberating experience for those with profound disabilities as it allows them to experience weightlessness and complete freedom from their wheelchairs. Flying at low levels aerial dance allows the participant to learn new skills such as pushing, spinning, stretching and swinging. In addition to this, the learning focus is on creativity allowing the teaching to be fully inclusive for the participants taking part.

The Creatabilty programme has successfully ran in a ten week block for the last two years and has involved partners such as Reach for Autism, Barnardo’s and local additional support needs school Craigmarloch. Creatability has had a fundamental impact and benefit on the quality of the young people’s lives. These include physical benefits such as increased range of movement, strength, agility and balance. Cognitive benefits such as increased focus, memory function and ability to socially engage with piers. Other benefits included improved mood, sleeping patterns and confidence. From participant feedback it can be seen that the young people particularly enjoyed being part of a team, having fun and expressing themselves creatively. The development of the year round programme is in response to the participants and their family’s desire for the programme to evolve in to a year round provision in their local area in-turn giving disabled young people the same opportunities as their non-disabled peers. This level of engagement will provide a sense of achievement and increase confidence and self-esteem.

A considerable benefit to this project has been the strengthened network of support developed between the project partner organisations. We will continue to nurture this increased engagement and connection, developing a wider social and support network that continues to open up pathways to inclusivity across Inverclyde, reaching out to young people with a disability who have had barriers to, or little opportunity, to access the arts.

42 young people with autism or additional support needs participated in phase one of the project, increasing to 45 in phase two. 50 will be the participation target for phase three.

Statistics gathered from participant’s evaluation forms
All participants noted an increase in confidence.
All participants felt that working as a team was easier than usual.
100% of the participants felt their movement skills had greatly improved
100% of the participants rated their experience of the project as ‘fantastic’.
39 of the 42 participants felt more motivated than usual.

Statistics gathered from guardians:
100% of guardians have expressed a strong desire for the project to continue.
When asked to rate the groups experience, 100% of the guardians gave the top rating of ‘fantastic’.
When asked to rate their child’s level of engagement, 100% of guardians stated that they were fully engaged throughout.
The quality of teaching and the content of the workshops was rated as exceptional by 100% of the guardians.
All guardians noted health benefits as a result of young people taking part in Creatability. Some highlights include improved sleep, mood, confidence, agility, balance and energy.

These quotes from participants guardians give us reasons to feel proud of the Creatability project:
“Brilliant! I felt really emotional watching; it’s great that kids with disabilities are not being held back.”
“A delight to see the support they gave to each other.”
“Inclusion at its best!”

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