Case Study: Integr8 Providing a Chance to Dance

May 3 2024


Integr8 Dance has been a HAF provider since 2021 and has been established as a Dance company since 2008. Integr8 are in a unique position, based in their own community building in the heart of Winnall, Winchester. Although based in the affluent city of Winchester, Winnall has one of the highest number of children eligible for FSM in Hampshire.

Integr8 are based at the Unit 12 community building which hosts a community food pantry, a clothes pantry, counselling services, a young carer’s charity, youth charities, council advice sessions, Ukrainian activities and more. This makes it a great place to provide HAF.

In 2008, Integr8 was set up to provide dance classes to children who wouldn’t normally have the chance to access dance. Since then, their work has developed to work with over 50 local schools both mainstream and SEND.

Alongside their original HAF programme that accommodates both primary and secondary-age children, Integr8 is excited to have recently launched the Chance to Dance HAF sessions for children with additional needs. These sessions are shorter with less children in the session and a higher staff ratio. They allow children who struggle with the traditional holiday camp format to access holiday sessions that are designed specifically to meet their needs.

Community partnerships

As well as the partnerships built within the community building, Integr8 works hard to seek out partnerships with other community organisations. A standout partnership that Integr8 has recently established is with Winchester Science Centre and their Wonderseekers charity. Being situated less than 5 miles from the HAF scheme, it provides the perfect opportunity to create an exciting collaboration. So far, children have taken part in an amazing rocket building session and are looking forward to future visits to the science centre and experiencing the mobile planetarium. This partnership is particularly great for the SEN-specific sessions, as the children really connect with the sensory activities, which open opportunities to learn and explore.

Food provision and healthy lifestyles

Integr8 actively encourages the engagement of all children into their food provision. Recently, Integr8 have provided their own kitchen to allow for cooking onsite. This means children can have input into the menu planning. Not exclusively but working with SEND children can mean complex dietary requirements or preferences which need to be taken into account. In addition, some children have sensory issues with food. Preparing food fresh onsite helps alleviate issues and challenges and involving families is mutually beneficial.

Integr8 offer many opportunities for children to take part in preparing food and fun food activities, such as making smoothies, pizzas, wraps and more. The teen groups enjoy taking part in ‘Ready steady cook’ style activities where they go shopping in the Food pantry and create their own menu. Children are encouraged to make healthy choices and understand why.

Enriching and physical activities

Integr8 offers a wide range of physical activities with a strong emphasis on the Arts. Integr8 has developed a dance programme that offers access to dance for everyone and can be accessed by all the children regardless of their additional needs. The team are very creative and provide opportunities for children to try many new things. Physical activities include Boogie bounce trampoline sessions, aerial workshops, circus skills, sports and games and cheerleading. Alongside these, children take part in activities such as arts and crafts, well-being sessions, graffiti art, beat boxing, DJing, film making, and gardening sessions in our community garden. Children are encouraged to give feedback on the activities and are also given space to put suggestions forward. The Integr8 team are experienced in working with SEND children, so are creative in adapting activities to allow the children to fully participate, try new things and find new interests.

Signposting and safeguarding

Being based at Unit 12, Integr8 is able to provide a wide variety of accessible information to families. The team can easily signpost families to the onsite support, the food pantry for example. In addition, Integr8 maintain working relationships with other support groups such as the Ukrainian support groups and Winchester Basics Bank. The on-site team have previously trained as Citizens Advice first aiders, competently help families navigate the Citizens advice website and point families in the right direction if they need further support.

Environmental awareness

Integr8 has a strong commitment to both reducing their own environmental footprint but also to encouraging environmental awareness among the children. This includes reducing food waste, by working closely with the Food pantry to use food that may get wasted, serving children their meals in front of them, so they can choose their portion size and putting all good waste into our composter in our community garden.

Our HAF sessions include opportunities where the young people ‘shop’ in our clothes pantry and learn how to upcycle clothes, promoting the re-use of clothes instead of fast fashion.

Integr8 have also developed a Puppet show ‘Trashmouth’ in partnership with Hampshire County Council’s Waste Prevention team, which encourages children to think about what they throw away and what can be reused. This is followed by craft sessions which use materials that would usually be thrown out and encourage children to think about alternative uses.

In summary….

Integr8 Dance is a values-based organisation that continues to build on their core dance activities with a truly eclectic HAF programme, benefitting from an array of valuable partnerships.

Intreg8 is a real asset to their local community, in delivering their HAF schemes and much beyond.