When I first started running sessions I was singing full time as part of an acoustic duo. My weekends were completely dominated by gigs - weddings, garden parties, birthdays, corporate dos - sometimes gigging up to 3 times a day! I'd been doing bits of volunteering on and off - working for a local charity in Southend called HARP, which does fantastic work with the homeless community. But I found that I could never stick to anything substantial because I had to keep taking paid jobs to live!
I got in a bit of a spiral, caught between needing to earn money and feeling that I was being selfish in not making the time to volunteer. It was something I felt quite bad about.
I realise now that I was being quite hard on myself. I was just doing what I had to do to survive but at the time it felt like I was being selfish to persue the singing career I wanted as it meant I couldn't give anything back.
It was Rachel, my friend and manager at the care home I had previously worked in as an activity coordinator, that suggested the dance sessions. We were on a night out, there was wine, and we were putting the world to rights. "Why don't you run a few of those Circle Dance sessions? You can do them at Brambles, they'd love it. And you could charge!"
The next day, with a mild hangover and saw muscles from all the dancing that had followed that conversation, I began to mull over the idea of running dance sessions. The logistics, the overheads, possible problems. I realised that actually I had a lot of the vital components already - I had a car to get me to sessions, I had something to play music on, I knew roughly how much care homes would pay for a dance session and what times of the day would work for them... I just needed to actually put the sessions together.
I'd run out of reasons NOT to do it!