MORE than 55 children from seven Cheshire primary schools were delighted to be invited to watch a showcase of dance at a Chester school.

The invited schoolchildren – most from Ellesmere Port and Chester schools – witnessed the Inspirations Dance performance at the Hammond School.

The performance showcased the talent of Hammond students from Year 7 through to final year BA Performing Arts degree undergraduates, comprising ballet, tap, street dance and musical theatre.

The trip was made possible for the children by Passion for Learning, an Ellesmere Port-based charity and the generosity of The Hammond School.

Passion for Learning is a volunteer organisation working with children from more than 30 schools across Cheshire West.

Diane Clark, founder and MD of Passion for Learning, said: "Our mission is to inspire children to develop a lifelong love of learning in order that they can achieve their full potential.

"We want the children who we work with to develop their own aspirations and ambitions for the future, whatever they may be."

Viv Couche, development manager at Passion for Learning, continued: "Through our partnerships with businesses and organisations in our community, we are able to provide unique experiences and opportunities to the children we work with.

"We believe that by helping children to explore and discover the world around them, they can identify their best education and career pathways, increasing the chances of them fulfilling their true potential as adults."

Principal at the Hammond, Jennifer Roscoe, said: "The Hammond is excited and thrilled to be working in partnership with Passion for Learning to help support the aspirations and dreams of all young people with a love of the arts.

"We pride ourselves on inclusivity and encouraging everyone to experience the endless benefits that music, dance, and drama can create."

Passion for Learning recruits and trains volunteers from the community to work with children from local primary schools, both as part of 1:1 sessions during the school day and as part of a network of 10 after-school Enrichment Clubs.

Rachael Driver, enrichment clubs manager, added: "Through our fantastic volunteers and skilled staff, we are able to provide truly unique and inspiring experiences to the children who attend our Enrichment Clubs.

"From visits to the theatre at the Hammond, to the global logistics warehouse of Regatta and our Careers Palace earlier this year, we are opening the children’s eyes to all the possibilities of the world around them."

Passion for Learning is intending to launch an ambitious arts programme in the autumn, with two new Enrichment Clubs being established in Ellesmere Port and Chester.

Viv added: "We are delighted to already have the support of the Hammond, Storyhouse, TEPCEC in Ellesmere Port and Bishop’s High school in Chester as key partners in enabling us to launch the programme.

"We still need to secure a proportion of the funding to enable us to deliver all our plans and are actively working to achieve this. We would welcome any support from members of the local community, whether on a practical or financial level. Please contact us if you would like to know more."

Diane added: "Even though we are a small charity, we achieve a lot for our children and have the highest of aspirations in everything we do for them.

"The quality of the performance at the Hammond was awe-inspiring and we know our children were truly spellbound by what they saw.

"Having the opportunity to chat to the students at the end of the performance was fabulous. We know there will be some indelible memories for our children arising from this experience.

"Our plans for the year ahead, including the mini Arts Festival for 250 children in July 2020, are truly the most exciting and ambitious ones we have ever had in the history of Passion for Learning."

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