In Coseley, a weekly tea dance had been run by the local police neighbourhood team and a local church for about 5 years. The tea dance was always well attended by local older people in the community. Last year it was in danger of having to stop when the police staff who ran it moved out of the local area and the church was no longer able to accommodate it.
Our East Coseley Changemaker Support Officer worked with three of the regular attendees to keep the event going and they were happy to help. We supported the tea dance participants to apply to the East Coseley Big Local Community Spirit Fund to help restart the tea dance. The participants were able to apply to this fund because the tea dance was open to all and only required a small amount of money to be kickstarted. The Community Spirit Fund awarded a small amount of money to help the participants get started; it covered the hire of another church hall and an entertainer.
To help the tea dance to keep going after the small amount of funding was spent, we helped the participants change the format of the event slightly. This meant speaking to participants and encouraging them to bring their own lunch instead of providing a buffet and agreeing a weekly charge of £3 each, which people are happy to pay.
Now, with a few tweaks, the weekly tea dance pays for itself. Everyone contributes to making the event happen, instead of a few people who are relied on to provide a costly service that would have required ongoing funding to sustain and the increased bureaucracy that can bring. The tea dance has a regular attendance of 30-40 people.
This event makes a difference to the lives of the people who attend; many of them live alone and do not have regular outings, and they look forward to the tea dance. It is run in the daytime so that they feel safe to come out of their homes. It was also specifically run at this time of the day because some of those attending have to look after grandchildren after school, it’s a time for them that they can enjoy. It is also a way of helping them to stay active through dancing. We have had various agencies come along to offer advice on issues ranging from health and wellbeing to safety and security.
Some of the tea dance participants said:
“I am glad this carried on I look forward to it”.
“It’s the only time I get together with my friends”.