Talkback have been very generous in making their virtual sessions available to anyone who wants to join in and not just members. My sister Joanne, who is not currently a Talkback member, has been really enjoying taking part in the dance sessions. She loves everything to do with music and has been missing seeing friends from both college and social clubs, so I thought this would be a great way to get her to engage using her passion. Prior to lockdown Joanne only used technology at home to listen to music, she had never used a video call for a substantial length of time or engaged in any online sessions. The first few sessions of dance we participated in, she was more interested in watching what was going in rather than doing the dancing herself. Through doing these sessions with her it has been amazing to see her become more engaged each week, dance more and more and show increasing amounts of interest in the other members in the session.
Joanne has been able to learn the dance moves and is much better at knowing the music and who it is by than I am! Joanne now always says hello and goodbye at the beginning and end of the sessions and has a smile on her face throughout which I can see even when she is not looking at the screen. The dancing is also helping her become more aware of her body and how to move it. She is becoming better and better at processing and following the instructions and copying the moves without assistance and with less and less encouragement. Doing these sessions together, we always have a good laugh and it has strengthened our relationship as sisters.
These session have also introduced her to a new way of engaging with people; Joanne is now more confident and settled when taking part in group calls and sessions (even when they are not centred around music) with her college and other groups.
Joanne is due to become a member of Talkback from September in partnership with MacIntyre at Flackwell Heath college. This opportunity she has had to be part of Talkback’s sessions has introduced her to new faces she might see of both leaders and members when she starts. I’m sure that carrying on with the virtual sessions will help her to transition in these strange and uncertain times. Thank you Talkback for including everyone.