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MEDIA RELEASE – Dance Up! Australia

Tuesday, 30 June 2020


Southern Migrant & Refugee Centre (SMRC) is delighted to announce funding for an innovative initiative called Dance Up! Australia – designed to engage with newly arrived migrants and refugees and women to participate in physical activity through the learning and sharing of various cultural dances for the purpose of keeping socially active, fit & healthy.

Funded by the Department of Health, the Driving Social Inclusion through Sport and Physical Activity grant is a two year program and is expected to engage participants from diverse cultural backgrounds across three LGA’s including City of Greater Dandenong, City of Casey and Shire of Cardinia.

“Using sport and physical activity, Dance Up! Australia aims to contribute to the building of resilient, cohesive and harmonious communities to ensure that individuals, families and communities have the opportunity to thrive in a unified Australian society” said Mr Brian Oates, Chairman, SMRC.

Dance Up! Australia will engage newly arrived migrants and refugees and women to participate in physical activity through the learning and sharing of various cultural dances”, said Mr Oates.

Dance Up! Australia provides an inclusive and accessible two year cultural dance program, provided at no cost in local gyms/venues. Participants will also be offered transport assistance and child minding facilities where available”, said Mr Oates

“To make it extra special, community cultural dance celebrations will be held during the year, bringing together new friends with a common love for dance” said Mr Oates.

Dance Up! Australia aims to bring new friends together through the shared experience of dance.

“A dancing community is a happy community”, said Mr Oates “It will be a joy to see people enjoying dancing together again.”

For many participants, attendance at the dance sessions is likely to be their first experience of accessing local exercise facilities and it is hoped that this positive exposure to local gyms will facilitate some participants to engage with other exercise classes offered through these Council facilities.

The anticipated improved physical health outcomes are likely to compliment the positive mental health of the participants through their regular involvement in dance.

“SMRC is deeply appreciative of Hon Richard Colbeck, Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians and Minister for Youth and Sport, for his support in Dance Up! Australia,” said Mr Oates. “We also wish to acknowledge Mr Jason Woods, Member for La Trobe, for his support of this exciting initiative”.

About the program

SMRC will lead numerous dance programs in local gymnasiums and community venues around the City of Greater Dandenong, City of Casey and Shire of Cardinia. Participants will come from many diverse communities including those from Afghanistan (Hazara, Pashtun), Chin, Burmese, Iranian, Sri Lanka, Tibetan, Syrian, Tamil, and Oromo background.

About SMRC

SMRC has been operating for over 28 years in Southern Melbourne empowering our diverse community to lead a fulfilling and proactive life in a unified society.

To achieve this we deliver a variety of programs aimed at supporting our clients through their settlement journey, to feel confident to participate socially and contribute economically by providing a variety of pathways to education and employment. We also have a growing health and wellbeing program as our cultural and linguistic diverse (CALD) community grows and ages.

Why is dance so important?

Research studies shows participation in ongoing dance programs improves health outcomes and that dancing is already in place in some communities and supported environments such as care facilities. Dance has been found to reduce the risk of dementia; improve balance, core strength and coordination leading to a reduction in falls; improve social connectedness, mental health and well-being; and improve physical condition and mental acuity.

Enquires about Dance Up! Australia

Enquiries about joining Dance Up! Australia can be made to Sue Brown, General Manager Strategy & Communications. E: susanb@smrc.org.au




Media enquiries and photo opportunities can be arranged by contacting:

Sue Brown, General Manager Strategy & Communications

E: susanb@smrc.org.au or M: 0438 443 425

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