Recovery - Resilience - Self Management

One Step Forward is a Creative Dance and Movement Programme for adults with mental health needs, running in Somerset since 2009 reaching over 600 participants.

We offer taster sessions and short courses in mental health support settings and in the community We accept referrals and self referrals and are open to all adults. Participants include people who are lonely or isolated, people with depression, anxiety and long term mental health conditions, people in addiction recovery, older people with dementia, women with post-natal depression, people in recovery from abuse and violence and homeless people. Some participants progress into volunteering and performance opportunities and our I am an Egg Dance Company.

The programme is founded and led by professional dance artists with lived experience of mental health difficulties. Our ethos is to provide a inclusive, supportive and safe space for people who may not otherwise be able to access dance and cultural activities.

Dance uniquely combines the benefits of physical activity with creative expression and social interaction. The work empowers participants to become more embodied and active, gain a sense of belonging and purpose, engage with the arts and give voice to their experiences. Participants experience the benefits of exercise and creativity in managing stress and anxiety becoming more present and mindful. The sessions also support people to develop soft skills such as confidence, communication and interpersonal skills, creative problem solving, motivation and resilience.

One Step Forward is all about challenging negative perceptions, showcasing positive mental health and increasing visibility for people whose voice is often missing.

Our 2012 Impact Review showed positive and sustained outcomes for our participants across 8 wellbeing indicators including: Increased confidence; Increased sense of purpose; Improved peer relationships; Increased motivation. Participants told us they were sleeping better, being more active and outgoing and were setting new goals for themselves.

OSF Impact Report


Carol's Story...

"I never felt creative before. I heard positive stories about people with bipolar who have a creative outlet and I never felt that before. One Step Forward does that for me. I'm now able to talk about mental wellbeing in front of people. I've seen people of all ages and all sorts of struggles forget about pain and fear, and get caught up in the joy of dance. I see people feeling safe and happy...playing. I've become a bigger and bolder person through this. Having spent years paralysed by fear and not going out and not talking, this has made me want to come, to want to write about it and share the words. I've developed confidence and people skills. "