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Norwich keep Lauren dancing during the pandemic

15 Jul 2020
Lauren, Norwich City, WAOT

Club foundation's online dance sessions have kept teenager with Down's syndrome connected and active despite the lockdown

The last few months have been difficult for 17-year-old Lauren Elvin. She has Down’s syndrome and, because of the coronavirus pandemic, has not been able to attend her regular activities run by Norwich City's Community Sports Foundation.

Lauren is a member of the CSF Allstars, a disability dance troupe who are part-funded by the Premier League and have performed to the crowds at Carrow Road.

But without her beloved Monday sessions the loss of routine and social interaction was hard for her.

"To start with, she wasn't happy at all," Lauren's mum, Claire, explains. "She obviously couldn't go to school and kept saying she wanted to go back.

"If we'd have been stuck at home with nothing this whole time it would have been awful and I'd have been really worried for Lauren."

The Foundation's disability team responded quickly to make the sessions available online, so it wasn't long before Lauren was back in front of her dance coaches Lisa Chapman and Georgia Skipper and the rest of the gang.

"It was really lovely for these guys to be able to see each other and have a chat," says Claire. "She really missed her friends.

“Georgia and Lisa do such a great job and these guys love it so much. The routines are so good for everyone to follow and enjoy."

Lisa can see the benefit Lauren gets from the online sessions.

"Not only has her technique improved but her memory of the moves and routines is getting better as well," she says. "She can always remember what we learned the previous week."

Bigger picture

Lauren and Claire are among around 180 families who have been receiving support from the CSF's disability team during the crisis.

At the start of the pandemic, immediate help came in the form of emergency care packets, including food for those most in need.

Since, the usual schedule featuring 14 weekly sessions has been replaced by a series of online catch-ups, quizzes and bingo sessions.

Darren Hunter, the Foundation’s Disability Development Manager, stresses the importance the Foundation maintains contact with its participants and become part of a new routine for them.

"Mentally, it's really important they maintain their social connections, and a lot of them have friends at sessions they have been unable to see," he adds.

"It also allows us to offer some important respite time to parents or carers at home."

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See: Coronavirus, clubs and community

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