Founder of dance charity running events in Wigan makes disability power list

Jen Blackwell
Jen Blackwell

The founder of an inclusive dance charity which runs classes in Wigan has been named as one of the most influential disabled people in the UK.

Jen Blackwell, the founder of DanceSyndrome - which hosts weekly dance sessions at The Rose Club in Hindley for people of all abilities, has been listed in this year’s Disability Power 100 List.

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The annual publication, put together by The Shaw Trust names the 100 most influential disabled people in the UK.

Jen has been listed alongside Paralympian seven times gold medallist swimmer Ellie Robinson MBE and YouTube sensation Jordan Bone.

Jen, who has Down’s Syndrome, set up her own charity back in 2009 to prove that the condition wasn’t an obstacle to fulfilling her and other people’s ambitions.

Since, alongside helping countless people, she has picked up several prestigious awards and it is the second year in a row she has been named on the Disability Power 100 list.

Jen, 37, said: “I’m a winner again. I’m the founder of DanceSyndrome, recognised and accepted for who I am, being the best that I can be, creating opportunities and changing lives.

“My charity shows the world what we can do, but we need charitable giving and people like you to help us make better futures for everyone.”

Not only does DanceSyndrome offer people the chance to dance in a social setting, but it also offers training for those who want to become dance leaders and teach their own classes.

Jen’s ethos is that disability should never be a barrier to following your dreams.

Dancers with and without disabilities work together to inspire people to see what can be achieved when society becomes more inclusive.

The Disability Power 100 List is compiled by an independent judging panel, chaired by Kate Nash OBE.

Kate is the world’s leading authority in Networkology’ - the science behind the growth of workplace networks and resource groups.

In 2007 she was awarded an OBE for services to disabled people and in 2013 she was appointed ambassador to Disability Rights UK.

The list was announced at a reception at the House of Lords this week.