Magpie Dance Nominated for the UK’s Largest Diversity Awards

Posted on: June 4, 2020
National Diveristy Awards 2020

National Diveristy Awards 2020

Magpie Dance a local charity from Bromley has been nominated for the Community Organisation (Disability) at The National Diversity Awards 2020.

The breath-taking Liverpool Anglican Cathedral will play host to this year’s awards, to be held on 25th September. Britain’s most inspirational and selfless people will come together to honour the rich tapestry of our nation, recognising individuals and groups from grass roots communities.

The prestigious black tie event recognises nominees in their respective fields of diversity including age, disability, gender, race, faith, religion and sexual orientation.


Magpie Dance is the UK’s leading dance charity for people with learning disabilities. We believe that a learning disability should not be a barrier to personal and artistic success. Through dance, our participants gain life, social and communication skills with added health and wellbeing benefits.

Founded 35 years ago, we provide dance opportunities for people with learning disabilities of all ages; giving more than just a dance class for people with a disability.

“Magpie Dance gives more than just a dance class for people with a disability. It gives the person a sense of pride being part of a dance group. It gives friendship and company. It improves fitness, health and mental wellbeing. It helps lift depression and loneliness around people with disabilities. It gives them something to work towards and builds confidence. They feel safe and happy at Magpie Dance. It brings the parents and carers together, which helps with the whole family wellbeing and community” Parent of a Magpie dancer.

Magpie Dance constantly builds strong relationships in and across existing and new communities; as well as regular dance programmes (15 weekly sessions in total), we have introduced 3 drop-in sessions. These new drop-in sessions reach and connect a new community of people with and without disabilities. Participants (for drop-in sessions) are 18+, most of whom are vulnerable adults with limited options for physical activity and social interactions in their community. As they get older, this group of adults experience significant decline in opportunities to engage in social and physical activity in the wider community due to cuts in statutory services, ageing family members and reductions in financial and personal support. This leaves them at significant risk of negative physical and mental health outcomes. The Magpie Dance community offers an environment to develop fitness, technical dance skills, build confidence, socialise and reduce loneliness. Participants are supported to stretch themselves physically, mentally and emotionally, challenging entrenched low expectations, making a real difference to people’s lives in the local community.

Our Vision
A world where a learning disability is no barrier to personal and artistic success in dance

Our Mission
To enable people with learning disabilities to reach their full personal, social and artistic potential through dance

Our Values
People, Access, Challenge, Excellence – PACE
PEOPLE – Our people come first
We work together. We listen, share and encourage ideas, support and respect individuals. We focus on ability, not disability.
ACCESS – Our priority is accessibility and increased participation
We strive to ensure safe, physical access to activities and venues. Our commitment is to increase participation of people with learning disabilities within the cultural sector.
CHALLENGE – We challenge perceptions
We change perceptions of what people with learning disabilities can achieve. We challenge participants to fulfil their potential and we challenge those they interact with to believe in their ability.
EXCELLENCE – We strive for excellence
We create high quality artistic experiences and professional practice.

Now celebrating our 35th Anniversary, Magpie Dance was founded in 1985 by Avril Hitman BEM who retired from the role of Artistic and Executive Director in 2017. Our values and approach were founded on the social model of disability – it is up to society to find a way of including people rather than excluding because of disability. Since the beginning, the aim was for the dancers to have as many opportunities as possible to perform and collaborate with different companies and artists.

This remains vital to Magpie Dance today which has now grown from a 45-minute session per week, to 15 sessions per week plus outreach workshops – enabling over 400 people to access regular dance activity sessions each year.

Our participants have a range of learning disabilities and are aged 3+, with no upper age limit on taking part. Through dance, our participants gain significant life, social and communication skills with measurable health and wellbeing benefits. Participants stage regular performances and national tours, many in prestigious performing arts venues (including Sadler’s Wells, The Royal Opera House and Trinity Laban). Ambitious and talented dancers are supported through professional progression pathways. We also deliver professional training for education, dance, health and business clients nationally, and we work in partnership with the NHS to provide in-patient work for clients with dementia and a range of complex learning disabilities.

ITV News will be working in association with The National Diversity Awards to highlight role models and community organisations on regional and national news channels.

Rachel Corp, Acting Editor, ITV News said; “We are pleased that ITV News will once again be supporting the National Diversity Awards. ITV News remains committed to telling the stories of those, who through their work and dedication to helping others have made a difference; enhancing equality, diversity and inclusion in our society. We look forward to introducing the 2020 nominees to our viewers across the regions and nation.”

The UK’s largest diversity awards has attracted a growing list of supporters including Adam Hills, Graham Norton and Katie Piper. Sir Lenny Henry CBE, last year’s winner of the Celebrity of the Year gong said;
“Diversity to me means involving everybody without any discrimination; its means having integrated groups in society, it means fairness and total inclusion and that’s what the National Diversity Awards are about. Congratulations to everyone who has been nominated, you’re all doing a fantastic job, rock on!”

The National Diversity Awards receives over 28,000 nominations and votes annually. Founder & CEO Paul Sesay said, “As we enter our 09th awards season, The National Diversity Awards prepare to welcome a host of outstanding role models and charities to our family. We look to those who represent progress, spirit and resilience, and I cannot wait to learn about the wonderful work being carried out this year”.

Nominations are now open and close June 8th 2020 – so don’t miss out on your chance to get involved!

Shortlisted nominees will be announced shortly after this date.

To nominate please visit:

Or for a nomination form please email: