Paying for daughter's dance classes

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CuileanCuilean Forumite
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I'm asking on behalf of a friend who is a mum, and needs some help from people who might know of an avenue which might offer some assistance. Mums seem good at knowing that sort of thing!

In a nutshell, my friend and her now 14 year old daughter fled her violent marriage a few years ago. Dad pays £3 maintenance a week, but has cut all links to his former family, which was a mutual agreement. My friend rented a house privately after the divorce, using savings as she wasn't eligible for council housing, and had a very small benefit top up.

Her savings have now run out, and my friend and her daughter will be moving into a small council flat nearby. What she is desperate to do is find a way to pay for her daughter's dance lessons. Her daughter is an award winning dancer. My friend has taken on a second job and works every hour of the week, but it's still not going to be enough to pay for show costumes, uniforms and exam fees on top of the weekly class fees.

I wondered if any of you might have any suggestions as to where she could turn for help and advice. Are there any associations or charities which she could ask for assistance? Is there any sort of scholarship or grant for teenagers which she could apply for?
© Cuilean 2005. Any connection between your reality and mine is purely coincidental.


  • elsienelsien Forumite
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    If you look at the turn2us website it has a section for applying to various charitable organisations for grants. They can be quite specific to area or job related eg ex seamen, but might be worth a look to see if there's anything relevant.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • *katie**katie* Forumite
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    Is it a council or a housing association which she's going to be renting from? Some housing associations offer grants which go towards residents' children's extra-curricular activities. Not sure about councils though.
  • theoreticatheoretica Forumite
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    Local libraries can be really useful for this, they often keep lists of grant giving bodies.

    If she applies to a known grant foundation she will be in competition with everyone else who applies, so it will also be worth asking local organisations and businesses if they would sponsor her. Also keep in mind the local newspaper, they often like articles about awards won and this goes down well with sponsoring companies.

    Good luck to her!
    But a banker, engaged at enormous expense,
    Had the whole of their cash in his care.
    Lewis Carroll
  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    I'd ask the dance teacher(s) if they knew of any grants etc.
    Signature removed for peace of mind
  • Kaye1Kaye1 Forumite
    538 Posts
    Keep searching ebay.

    If she is with an accredited dance studio, they will probably be affiliated to one of several dance bodies.

    That means they my LO has to wear a dance uniform in a very particular shade of lilac. The leotard alone is approx. £20 as well as all the rest of it! However, I have a permanent search on ebay for the dance clothes which are a specific brand.

    I have bought pretty much brand new stuff for a few pounds- children who have said they wanted to do ballet then gave it up.

    Shoes I buy new. However, the ballet school does a massive order twice a year and gets a better price.

    My LO's dance teacher is pretty flexible for lessons but she will need to have the correct uniform for exams.

    Sorry I can't help with exam costs etc- they do cost a bloomin' fortune. Can you friend sell stuff on ebay perhaps?

    Perhaps your friend could agree a reciprocal situation with the ballet school- could she clean/tidy the studio?

    One other idea- one of the Mum's at ballet sells homemade soaps and cards at the studio to the parents. Is there anything your friend can do like that?

    I wish them all the best, I know how difficult it can be to get the cash together.
  • SpendlessSpendless Forumite
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    Having got a DD who is interested in Performing Arts (she prefers acting), I am aware of how costly dance lessons and related costs are,

    I'm on a couple of facebook pages where other mums are selling show costumes to re-coup some money back. Don't know if that's any help to your friend, sell some old costumes and maybe use the money to re-invest?
  • TBagpussTBagpuss Forumite
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    Forumite might have some useful information.

    I would second the suggestion to speak to the Daughter's dance teacher to ask about and help or funding she may be entitled to.

    Is daughter studying ballet? If so, could she apply for a place at the Royal Ballet School? If so, she may then be entitled to government funding for her fees.
    All posts are my personal opinion, not formal advice Always get proper, professional advice (particularly about anything legal!)
  • GlasweJenGlasweJen Forumite
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    Dance teachers tend to be self employed so won't tend to have grants specific to their school though they may be willing to reduce fees or costume prices for parents who go every week to collect the class fees.

    If it's something like Irish dancing then you'll find that most kids are award winning - even my niece who only took it up last year has won at national level and I don't think there's a single child in her school who hasn't won a big competition - I don't think it's so much that it's an excellent school more that there are so many competitions with so many categories that you're bound to win something most of the time.

    For things like ballet if she's really good she should be attending royal ballet/Scottish ballet auditions as they will attract some help with fees.

    Ask if there's a "club" where parents can save for the big expenses - my mum had 3 girls all doing exams every year and the club was a life saver. A few pounds a week really added up and covered show costumes too.

    If she had any friends who travel to the USA ask them to pick up clothes and shoes.
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