Matthew dancing at Strictly Cymru

Learner Crowned Winner of Strictly Cymru Inclusive Dance Competition

15 February 2021

Congratulations to Independent Living Skills (ILS) learner, Matthew Morley from the City of Newport Campus, who beat over 230 competitors to win a title in the Leonard Cheshire (CanDo) Strictly Cymru Dance competition.

As an inclusive college, we encourage all our learners to participate in extra-curricular activities and enrichment opportunities to enhance their learning experience and develop life-long skills. And Strictly Cymru is far more than just a dance competition – it’s an opportunity for individuals like Matthew to grow in confidence, believe in themselves, meet new people, and try something new, complementing our Independent Living Skills courses perfectly.

What is Strictly Cymru?

Strictly Cymru is a pan-disability dance competition held in Wales, run by international disability charity Leonard Cheshire, in partnership with Paradance UK. Anyone who self identifies with a disability can enter the competition in either the wheelchair category or the inclusive category, which Coleg Gwent learner Matthew entered and won.

Competitors took part in heats in Anglesey, Wrexham, Carmarthen, Bridgend, Cardiff and Newport, learning a disco dance routine over 2 days, and competing for one of 12 places in the finals. We’re so proud of Matthew for entering Strictly Cymru and putting all his energy and passion into his dance routine to earn his place in the finals. He practised his professionally choreographed dance routine with dedication and determination, and was awarded first place in the ‘Inclusive’ category thanks to his hard work, focus and commitment to his dance routine and technical ability. Emma Wilcox, Fundraising Manager for Leonard Cheshire Cymru, said “Matthew has been a delight from the start. His personality is infectious and his commitment to his routine has been inspiring.”

The Strictly Cymru finals

These extracurricular opportunities are a great experience for ILS learners like Matthew. So, we support and encourage all learners to get involved in enrichment activities like Strictly Cymru alongside their studies. We’re now looking forward to watching the finals, with all the performances, judges’ comments and winners’ presentations. The 2020 finals were due to take place in the Sir Gar theatre Llanelli, complete with a celebratory meal on the eve of the final. However, due to the current coronavirus restrictions, the event has had to go virtual instead. It was live streamed on the Leonard Cheshire Strictly Cymru Facebook page at 5pm on 13th February 2021.

Feeling inspired by Matthew’s story? Discover more about our enrichment opportunities and ILS courses at Coleg Gwent and register for our next virtual open event to meet our expert tutors and helpful support staff.