Story 10 - Blog

Georgina's Story

Georgina’s past job as a dancer has helped her support customers and broaden her own horizons.

I joined Look Ahead as a learning disabilities support worker in January 2021 after deciding to take my career in a new direction. I had previously been working as a professional dancer after earning my degree in dance with aerial performance.

I worked in London and abroad in India, Dubai and beyond. I worked with artists at festivals, on tours, in Bollywood films and music videos, as well as in live shows at theme parks, stadiums and corporate events.

I also spent time teaching dance to young adults with a learning disability, which I really enjoyed. I had tried again and again to get support worker jobs to do alongside performing but kept getting turned away because of a “lack of experience.”

My dance work disappeared overnight during the pandemic, which was stressful. However, it gave me the chance to reassess my career and what direction I wanted to take. I then found an opening at Look Ahead and decided to have another try at becoming a support worker.

I ended up getting the job here which was the biggest lifesaver. It completely flipped and changed my path but in the best way.

My colleagues were great, they supported me and helped me to learn. I made it clear in my interview that while I may not have had the most experience, I am not afraid of hard work. I used to do 20 and 30-hour video shoots!

Two months in, I started planning activities for customers and a some of them showed an interest in dancing. I taught them a few moves and later noticed one of them practicing in the lounge on the CCTV. We started regular sessions and eventually got a group of eight. It has had a huge impact, I particularly enjoyed seeing a very shy customer start to engage, teach us about his culture and share some moves of his own!

After seeing these changes, I decided to apply for Look Ahead’s internal Rising Star Award. I am proud to say I won £5000 towards an MA in Dance Movement Psychotherapy at Roehampton University. Going forward I want to use my new knowledge and skills to expand our sessions as a more regular offer to all Look Ahead services whether learning disability, forensic, homelessness, domestic violence, mental health or leaving care.

So far, with support from Look Ahead’s Business Development Team, I have already secured funding through the East End Community Foundation from Arts Council England and Disability Rights UK from Sport England to run dance therapy activities across ten learning disability and mental health services in the last two years.