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Dance Academy’s Clare awarded BEM

THE manager of a contemporary dance programme helping to transform the lives of vulnerable young people has been recognised in the 2023 New Year’s Honours.

Clare Hobbs, Hampshire County Council’s Manager of Wessex Dance Academy, has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for her services to young people locally.  

Councillor Edward Heron, Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services, paid tribute to Clare on receiving her BEM.

He said: “Many congratulations to Clare on this prestigious achievement, which recognises the significant contribution that Wessex Dance Academy continues to make to the lives of the young people who engage with the programme. The academy’s value and success would not be possible without the hard work and commitment of the team behind it who, under Clare’s admirable stewardship, have been able to empower so many young people over the years.”   

First launched in 2009, Wessex Dance Academy provides full time 10-to-12-week dance training programmes to vulnerable young people in Hampshire aged between 15 and 25, who are referred by professionals from across Children’s Services and education. The programme aims to build their confidence, self-esteem and resilience, and to help them realise their own potential.  

This has longer-term positive benefits, including helping young people who are not in education, employment or training to return to school or college, or to find employment; increasing the attainment of children in care; and reducing the number of young people involved in the criminal justice system.  

And Clare said: “I am proud to accept this honour on behalf of the entire Wessex Dance Academy family and all of my colleagues at Hampshire County Council. I have always firmly believed in the invaluable work of the Academy, which continues to drive improved and lasting outcomes for young people and their families.”

At a time when we are seeing more demand placed on Children’s Services, programmes like the Academy have an important role to play in helping young people and their families to make positive changes – reducing the need for intervention from other services.  

“I dedicate this award to everyone at Wessex Dance Academy, and to the many inspiring young people who, supported by the programme, have been able to shape their lives for the better.”    

For more information about Wessex Dance Academy and what they can offer, readers can visit their website 

PICTURED: Wessex Dance Academy Manager Clare Hobbs has won BEM in 2023 New Year’s Honours.