Dance School and Local business bring children together at Christmas.

14th March 2019

The phone rang, local children needed something different

 Dance School and Local business bring children together at Christmas.

 We had the most amazing experience, we made it happen and it was all for the children.

 After 6 months of planning 290 children enjoyed their special day on the ice rink.

 All as a result of an idea shared between Hannah and Martin Horner and Laura Sandham School of Dance over a coffee back in June 2018.

 The fairytale ending 

290 children from local schools of all abilities, came together to experience ice skating, dancing, singing and craft workshops with a freshly prepared lunch over a 3-week period from end of November to mid-December, funded by the generosity of owners of The Borough Lancaster.


This is the story of Lancaster on Ice.- diary of Dance by Laura Sandham Smith

 "I enjoyed it so much I wish I could do it all over again"

 Not only did the children thrive from and marvel at the magic of their day, so did the teachers and myself, at seeing faces light up, skills develop and hearing such comments of fulfilment and gratitude there is no better reward for hard work it all paid off and we made it work we gave these children memories to last a life time.

 The combination of bringing a Dance School and local business together created the Christmas experience of a lifetime for local children.

 I also decided to broaden my contacts into the ice-skating world and get professionals on board. This is where David came into the equation.

The children received training, tuition, tips and guidance from a true pro "David a professional ice skating tutor and a performer in shows around the world, appearing on national television and a certain ice show".

 The initial idea needed to then develop- we wanted to provide local schools with a workshop opportunity and get them involved in the community, provide fun activities for children???.


Getting the schools involved wasn't as straight forward as we'd thought. It required lots of work, communication, a lengthy RISK ASSESSMENT to carry out. But we got some amazing schools on board.

 The project wasn't without knockbacks, there was a whole period where we thought the plan was shattered when we had the news that the grant that we needed to fund all of this for the schools was refused.

 We thought the arts council would back such an opportunity without a doubt but had the plan come to its end, had all the hard work been for nothing?

 No ...... with the generosity of Hannah and Martin, we still managed to pull off the whole plan for the children to have their extra sprinkle of magic in the festive season.

 Any setbacks only made the whole thing even more special and appreciated.

 "I loved it all! The ice skating was great, one lunch was perfect, and the music was good. The creative activity was good too, Thanks Miss Laura.

 Being a dance teacher and business owner of The Laura Sandham School of Dance for 14 years now, working with children has been at the forefront of my line of work.

 The idea sparked up a fire of excitement in my belly so I went off in search of the correct support network for the challenge.

 Although performing and dancing are my profession, ice skating was not my forte. So I booked myself in for a few ice-skating lessons in order to put my best foot forward, guard my reputation within the arts and be confident enough on the ice to ensure the safety of the children during the workshops.


I rounded up all my local businesses contacts to put together the most creative winter wonderland experience we could for the schools involved.


The day for all the children then came to life,

 9am - talk about safety on the ice and an introduction to the team

9.15am -11.30am - a lesson on the ice, learning to skate and techniques wit their friends and instructors, and they learnt and performed a routine from The Greatest Showman.

11:45- 12:30- Lunch at The Cornerstone Cafe Lancaster

12:30-12:45 - a winter walk to The Story - Laura Sandham School of Dance

12:45-1:15- A singing workshop with Victoria Munson from Limelight

1:15-2:45 - craft workshop with Joanna from The Creation Station Lancaster

2:45 time to get back on the coach and home,very tired but excited!


Thank you to those would supported our idea , These included;

The Creation Station Lancaster with Joanna Cameron - ran craft workshops for the children

Limelight with Victoria Munson- rant singing workshops with the children

Cornerstone Cafe - provided lunch and a warm place to eat after a while on the ice use of the rink and free skate hire - Martin and Hannah Horner

  • free lessons and technique classes on the ice -Laura Sandham School of Dance

  As the owner of the Laura Sandham School of Dance I'm often rewarded with the sight of growing and glowing children.

 Lancaster on Ice was on a whole other level, seeing the children beam with this whole day that was free for all children, all backgrounds and abilities has been the best Christmas present of all for us.

 Not to mention the overwhelming feedback- the thank you???s from the children, the teachers, the schools, the photos, the cards, the assembly dedicated to it use, and my team as a thank you from Morecambe Bay Primary!

 It was a icy-success all around!!!

 So looking forward to the possibility of bringing it back again in 2019 !

 Article submitted by Laura Sandham School of Dance Lancaster - 07876794205

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