DAZL (Dance Action Zone Leeds) the Middleton-based charity that has got so many children moving and grooving over the last 21 years, have moved into a permanent home in Middleton Community Centre on Acre Road.
With help and support from the ward Councillors, they have taken over and refurbished the community space in the building which they share with Middleton Elderly Aid. The space has been fully refurbished to create a dance studio plus offices and kitchen. The walls have been decorated, new ceilings and lighting put in and of course mirrors added.
“We didn’t get any grants to pay for the work” explains Ian Rodley, DAZL’s Director. “This has come from Ian not having a really nice holiday this year and lots of support and volunteered time from staff and supporters.”
The dance studio is already in use as children’s activities have restarted.
“The children love it, they’re so chuffed. Everyone loves it, the children, the staff, the parents. Everyone’s really shocked that we’ve got it done so quickly, but staff and supporters have given up their weekends and evenings to make it happen.
“Councillors have paid for kitchen equipment and Asda at Middleton have given us kitchen supplies. So many people rallied round when they heard what we were doing and asked ‘how can I help?’ I can’t thank everybody enough.”
Ian is keen that the space is not just a performing arts dance studio, but wants it to be a community space. Any group will be able the use the space for a flat £10 fee (to cover costs).
“We want the community to feel that there’s something here for them” he says.
He has plans for a monthly buy, sell and swap shop, and is looking at boxercise, soccer kids, and line dancing for older people. Longer term he has ambitions to build an extension onto the building and make it a cultural space for sport, dance and art for all generations. He’s already lined up Leeds Playhouse to bring their production of Fairy Poppins to the centre in June.
Whilst this is now DAZL’s home base, they will still be running groups in venues across the city. Ian is keen to see the gaps that leaves in the studio’s timetable filled by others:
“If people have got an idea for a group, come and see us, we’re really open to helping you make it happen” he says.
You can contact DAZL on 07519 018675; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; or via Facebook.