Steps for the Future is a performing arts group for adults with differences. Set up by Maggie Attenborrow it started as a dance class, before expanding into dance, drama and music classes. I’ve been helping as a volunteer at the drama group since February, and have been amazed by what the students can achieve. The last two weeks we have broken from our usual routine to run disability awareness workshops for NCS students at the Broomfield site of Derby College.
NCS is a programme run outside of term time for students aged 15-17, with the aim of giving them new experiences and challenges. We are only playing a small part in this, but hopefully giving an experience they will never forget. I know I speak for Maggie, all the staff, and volunteers when I say we are so proud of what the Steps students achieve doing events like this.
When the NCS students first arrive they seem a bit uncomfortable and uncertain about the workshop, but Steps come out dancing and soon win them over. As the workshop goes on people are pulled up off the floor to join in the dancing until we’ve got everyone up and having a good time. As Maggie always says, we are there to show the positive, happy side of disability, to show what people with differences can do.
The Steps students suffer from a range of different conditions, often more than one. We counted up to ten ailments listed by one of them (though this figure did change a few times during the day). If there is one thing they prove to people time and time again it is that Down Syndrome, epilepsy, asthma, muscular dystrophy, and rare, unpronounceable blood conditions don’t have to stop you doing what you love.
This is the message Steps take with them everywhere they go, with tremendous warmth and enthusiasm. Long may they continue to do so.