Dancing for a purpose

Since its creation in 2011, Dan Augustine has been a valued member of the St. Albans Purple All Stars, a group of people with learning disabilities who want to help get better healthcare for people with learning disabilities.

All Star

Kate Harding, Creative Arts Practitioner for Purple All Stars said: “Dan has a level of energy that is infectious and lifts other members if they are struggling with the work or having a bad day.

“He is the life and soul of the group and has a clear passion for the work.”

Dan knows the importance of equitable health for people with learning disabilities and is committed to delivering the inclusive messages of the Purple All Stars using song and dance.

Dancer Dan was part of the original group that was asked to attend the Purple All Star sessions seven years ago.

He is a member of ‘passport to leisure’, which supports adults with learning disabilities to access and integrate with the community through a variety of leisure and sporting activities, as are some of the original Purple All Stars who are still in attendance to the sessions.

Sports, arts and entertainment LDA Leaders' List 2018
Passport to Leisure provides sporting opportunities in the community.

This energetic leader has performed solo dance work and is currently working on a new piece to highlight the issue of stopping  over medicating of people with a learning disability (STOMP).

His ability to express messages through dance and movement will leave the audience moved, impressed, and a little more understanding of the message – how overmedication affects people with a learning disability and the choices they have to make changes to their life.

Daniel Sports, arts and entertainment LDA Leaders' List 2018

Dan’s dance and movement abilities in solo work or as part of the group are clear. He delivers the health messages being shared with energy and enthusiasm.

He is unforgettable on stage and audiences have often commented on his abilities and palpable passion for the work.

A ground force to be reckoned with

As well as his work in the arts, Daniel also volunteers with Earthworks, a charity which grows fresh produce using environmental principles to sell in the local area. The site includes gardens, a heritage orchard, vegetable beds, shade tunnels and a polytunnel.

Steve Pike, of the Earthworks Charity, spoke to us about Dan’s volunteer work with the organisation.

He said: “Dan has been volunteering at Earthworks for over 15 years, where he supports friends and his peers (also known as ‘Earthworkers’) to undertake gardening work and outdoor activities.

“Dan is dedicated and reliable – he is always willing to help out wherever he can. Whether that is loading the van with donated (and very heavy!) paving slabs, welcoming visitors to the site on open days, mowing the lawns, or just making sure that a friend is feeling okay and enjoying their working day.

“Without fail, Dan always brings three things with him to Earthworks: a big smile, his wonderful sense of humour and of course a mobile phone full of music for us to enjoy!

Sports, arts and entertainment LDA Leaders' List 2018
Dan gets stuck in doing anything the charity needs help with.

“All of us at Earthworks are immensely grateful and fortunate to have enjoyed the friendship and support that Dan has brought to the charity for so many years.

“We hope that Dan is very proud of all that he has given the charity, its staff, volunteers, visitors; and not least the Earthworkers themselves.”

Checkout this guy

As if all of that wasn’t enough, Dan manages to engage with, and provide this much value to, his local community outside of normal working hours!

Dan is also a long serving member of staff at his local Morrison’s store. Manager Ian Woods said: “Dan is a happy, long serving employee. He is an enthusiastic member of staff who works incredibly hard.”

If only he knew the half! Keep up the great work Dan.