A Lancashire-based charity after being honoured at the Northern Power Women Awards.

DanceSyndrome was recognised in the 'Inclusive Innovators' category at the Northern Power Women Awards, an annual awards ceremony that aims to share the stories of 'amazing' role models from the North. 

The DanceSyndrome team travelled to the Manchester Central Convention Complex on Monday (March 18) for the ceremony and received a 'Commended Award' in their category. 

The charity was founded by Jen Blackwell, who has Down's syndrome, because she found it difficult to find opportunities in community dance that were accessible to people with learning disabilities

DanceSyndrome's ethos is that 'disability should never be a barrier to following your dreams. 

All DanceSyndrome sessions are disability-led, with people with learning disabilities. 

The charity works across the North West offering weekly inclusive dance workshops, its own accredited leadership training and exceptional performances by the DS Collective performance company at a variety of events, including the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival. 

Julie Nicholson, managing director at DanceSyndrome, said: “Monday was the first day of the national Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week campaign. 

"This year the campaign is about ending stereotypes about what people with Down’s syndrome can and can’t do.

"Lots of people will have seen the 'Assume I can' video on social media and we proudly support the national campaign every year because we firmly believe that people with learning disabilities can achieve anything that they set their mind to if they are supported to follow their dreams.

"Our inclusive dance work gives people opportunities to become visible leaders and have their voices heard on issues that are important to them.

"It’s wonderful to receive recognition like winning a Northern Power Women Award at any time, but it’s extra special to receive it on the first day of a campaign like this. 

"It truly demonstrates that people with learning disabilities can and do make a significant contribution to society and should be celebrated and given a platform at events like this.

"We’re so proud of our team and their incredible achievements which truly reinforce the “Assume I can” message!”

DanceSyndrome founder, Jen Blackwell, added: “Being nominated for this award shows that people with learning disabilities can do amazing things with their lives if given a chance.

"I do have Down’s syndrome but that doesn’t define me. 

"I believe that everybody can dance and do things they love no matter how other people define us.”