An award-winning dance club has launched a new band Wrexham using money seized from criminals.
The Wisp Dance Club has transformed the lives of hundreds of young people with disabilities since its creation by artistic director Cher Mather in Mold in 1994.
Building on nearly three decades of success, the club has launched a new group, Wisp Plus, based in Wrexham, inspiring adults with additional needs to explore the world of contemporary dance and movement.
They received a £2,500 grant from the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner’s Your Community, Your Choice Fund, which was instrumental in getting the new project off the ground.
The initiative, also supported by the North Wales Police and Community Trust (PACT) and the North Wales Police, is in its ninth year.
Over £400,000 was distributed to worthy causes and much of it was recovered through the Proceeds of Crime Act, with the rest coming from Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin.
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Uma O’Neill, Project Manager and Senior Tutor at Wisp, said: “We are one of the only specialist organizations in North Wales carrying out this work.
“Covid has been very hard on us because a lot of our participants have had to shield themselves and it’s only now that people are starting to come back because they were very scared.
“This work can reconnect people and build their confidence and help our members live fulfilling lives.
“This grant will secure provisions so that we have enough members to keep going. Without this grant, this simply would not happen.
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Wisp Plus welcomed 10 members aged 20-60 to their first session and hopes many more will join in the coming months: “We want to support our members, listen to their needs and champion their abilities and voices”, Uma said.
“We are totally inclusive. We have members who are in wheelchairs, we have members who have both physical and mental challenges – we don’t turn anyone away.
Congratulating the dance group on their new venture, North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin said: “I am delighted that my Your Community Your Choice fund continues to support community projects in North Wales.
“This unique fund is a demonstration of the power of people in action as it allows our communities to decide which projects should receive financial support through our online voting system.
“There is an element of poetic justice in using money obtained through crime to solve the problem of crime in our communities.
“It turns bad money into good and it makes a real difference because it’s local people who recognize and understand their local problems and how to solve them.”
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PACT chair Ashley Rogers said: “These awards are important because they support community projects across North Wales and it is the communities themselves who decide where the money can best be spent.
“A lot of what we fund is aimed at providing something for young people to get involved with in their free time, activities that can help build skills and positive physical and mental health.
“Community groups and projects can do a lot to make communities safer, reduce crime and reduce recidivism, it also sends a good message to communities because it shows we are listening to them.
“The aim is to build resilience in communities across North Wales to help the vulnerable and fight things like the County Lines.”
For more information about Wisp Dance Club, visit: https://wispdanceclub.com/