Preston Neuro-Moves awarded lottery windfall

21 December 2023

UCLanDance will continue to run the dance sessions

People in the Preston area with neurological conditions will benefit from an early Christmas present, courtesy of a dance company and the National Lottery.

LPM Dance, which has been running classes in the city for people with Parkinson’s since 2021, has received development funding from the National Lottery’s Reaching Communities Fund.

The £64,209 boost and funding from Parkinson’s UK will enable LPM’s flagship Neuro-Moves programme to continue for another two years in Preston and will also see LPM launching similar classes in East Lancashire.

“We are absolutely delighted to have received National Lottery funding to develop our Neuro-Moves programme for communities in Lancashire,” said Helen Gould, co-founder of Lancashire-based LPM Dance.

Around 15 people with Parkinson’s currently attend the Connect & Flow weekly classes, held at the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) Preston Campus, and the sessions will be opened up to people with other neurological conditions such as MS and dementia.

The gentle, creative dance and movement sessions are led by Dr Mel Brierley and research has shown that such dance helps with co-ordination and mobility problems often associated with Parkinson’s and also improves general well-being.

"Dance seems to manage many of the movement-related symptoms: muscle rigidity, balance and smooth patterns of walking but equally, dance improves people's mood, confidence and ability to manage the symptoms"

Dr Mel Brierley

“For people with Parkinson's, damage to neurons in the brain reduces the neuro-transmitter dopermine, widely impacting the nervous system,” said Mel.

“Dance seems to manage many of the movement-related symptoms: muscle rigidity, balance and smooth patterns of walking but equally, dance improves people's mood, confidence and ability to manage the symptoms.”

People travel from miles around to attend the UCLanDance sessions, in Preston, which give them a chance to socialise as well as dance. Many have said the classes are the highlight of their week.

“The dance classes make a significant difference to my physical symptoms and also boost my confidence,” said one participant.

Another added: “I forget that my hand shakes because nobody cares and everyone understands.”

Connect & Flow sessions take place every Wednesday from 2pm to 3.30pm and cost £3.50 including tea and biscuits.

LPM Dance also provides online pilates classes for people with Parkinson’s on Mondays at 10am, priced £4.50, and Neuro-Moves sessions, priced £3, on Thursdays at 12.15pm. For more information and to book sessions, visit the LPM Dance website

*Photo credit to Parkinson's UK.