Tiny Toes Ballet offers free classes for refugees and asylum seekers

Tiny Toes Ballet, which runs pre-school ballet classes for children in Bridgend County and the Vale of Glamorgan is offering free sessions to the children of asylum seekers and refugees.

Jessica Barnes, who has run her Tiny Toes franchise in Bridgend County and the Vale of Glamorgan since January 2019, said the new initiative began in response to the plight of asylum seekers from Ukraine but is open to all children from asylum seeker and refugee families.

“As a team all the Tiny Toes franchisees wanted to do something to help people who have come to the UK with barely any money or belongings,” she said. “We felt it would make sense to offer classes to children from these families. Joining a ballet dance class is a chance for parents and children to make new friends and to feel part of their local community. We hope it gives them a bit of enjoyment and a sense of connection at what must be a devastating time for them.”

Tiny Toes Ballet is the UK’s first pre-school ballet programme to be fully integrated with the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum. It was founded in Swansea in 2011 by Emma Morgan, an experienced primary school and ballet teacher, and has grown to have 17 franchises all over the UK. Children can attend from the age of six months to seven years.

Emma Morgan said: “I’m very proud of Jess for opening her classes to the children of asylum seekers and refugees. Witnessing tragedies such as the war in Ukraine can make us feel very powerless; by offering these free classes we’re hoping that displaced children all over the UK will have a chance to feel welcomed, to play, and to remember how to be children.”

Tiny Toes welcomes contact from any charities, councils or individuals who are involved with looking after refugees and asylum seekers, and who might want to help them access these opportunities. Miss Jess and her team are also open to travelling to places where refugees and asylum seekers are already gathering or being supported in order to offer classes at a location that suits them.

Anyone interested in arranging classes can contact jess@tinytoesballet.co.uk or 07770 321 502.