For decades, the Lower Kersal Morris Dancing Troupe has kept young girls off the streets and on to the dance floor to learn the art of morris dancing.
Now the club, which has taught hundreds of youngsters how to dance, has been given a much-needed financial boost by housing association Salix Homes.
Principal Ann Smith has been running the troupe since 1983, with the aim of providing a fun and inexpensive hobby for the children of Salford.
Now 35 years later the club is still going strong and Ann works with her daughter Joanne Gibson to run the dancing sessions, which are held at St Sebastian’s Community Centre on Wednesdays and St George’s Day Centre on Thursdays.
Despite morris dancing having a perception of being a dying art form, Joanne says that couldn’t be further from the truth in Salford.
“Although morris dancing is a fairly niche activity, we draw girls in from miles around,” she said.
“We’ve built up a real sense of community through dancing and word of mouth has played a big part in allowing us to grow. As we’ve been going for such a long time, we’re starting to see the daughters and young relatives of girls that danced for us many years ago carrying on the family dancing tradition. Once you’ve danced, it’s in your blood.”
Salix Homes has just awarded the dance troupe £480 as part of its community grant programme Springboard, which supports projects and initiatives in Salford that boost community spirit, promote health and wellbeing, reduce isolation or improve the environment.
The successful bid has helped fund a medal ceremony for the young dancers.
“Receiving money from Salix Homes has been a big thing for our group as it’s provided us with much-needed financial relief. We’ve been able to hold a medal ceremony for our girls to reward them for their fantastic work and motivation.
“Seeing how proud they are of themselves and how much fun they’re having is one of the main things that motivates me to keep the group going.”
Salix Homes, which owns more than 8,300 properties in Salford, has also awarded another local dance troupe – The Kersal Line Dancers - with £450 to help fund their weekly dance sessions at St Aiden’s Church on Littleton Road.
Mick Walsh, a neighbourhood manager at Salix Homes, said:
“Dancing is an excellent way of bringing people together and boosting health and wellbeing, so Salix Homes is very proud to support both these dance troupes in Salford.
“It’s really fantastic to see young people in Salford morris dancing and we hope this Springboard grant will go some way to ensuring this wonderful British tradition continues to flourish in the area.”
Since launching last year, Salix Homes has donated more than £50,000 to local groups and projects in Salford.
To find out more about how to apply for a Springboard grant, go to:https://www.salixhomes.org/springboard