We are Gemma and Adam Bonner and we are the founders of SCD.
You are invited to partner with us as we launch a brand new fully accessible community dance hub in the heart of Sutton. We are bringing new life to an empty retail unit with a wide range of classes for the whole family from toddlers to senior citizens and everyone in between.
SCD (Sutton Community Dance) spells out the three things we love; our home London borough, the importance of community and the power of dance to change the world for good. The experienced, qualified and local team of teachers is led by Gemma Bonner who has been leading community dance programmes in Sutton for the last 15 years.
To bring the vision into reality we need your support to help us transform a large empty space into 3 completely accessible dance studios.
SCD has 4 simple aims which, with your contribution, we can start achieving this September;
(1) Increasing physical health
> Developing strength, flexibility and improving circulation through dance.
(2) Improving mental health
> Focusing on what we ‘can’ do in a positive and encouraging environment.
(3) Building community with everyone
> Celebrating all we have in common and removing barriers to membership.
(4) Boosting pride in Sutton
> Encouraging people to be active local citizens
SCD is about PARTICIPATION without barriers, EXPERIMENTATION without fear and TRANSFORMATION without limits. These 3 words are our values.
We truly believe that ‘it takes a village.’ It takes a village to raise a child, to help us all flourish in life and it truly takes a village to make a new independent business get off to the best possible start! Could you be part of the SCD village?
We’ve registered SCD as a Community Interest Company. This is to ensure that from the start we have the best structure to grow a credible and values-based business with an authentic not for profit community focus. All the financial risk is ours and we have a good business model which should mean the class fees sustain the business.
We are inviting individuals, families and organisations to consider supporting us in these exciting early days. Finance raised for SCD is mainly to cover essential (and long lasting) equipment costs to help us setup the 3 studio spaces in a way that makes them truly inclusive. Growing a wide-ranging supporter base now will be what truly makes the SCD vision come to life and enable this new community interest company to survive & thrive through its crucial first 12 months.
We know from research such as that of social scientist Robert Putnam that the amount of time people spend doing positive activities together in community directly improves social cohesion and trust – across different socio-demographic, ethnic and physical ability groups.
SCD wants to play its part in creating positive sustained community change.
We've seen the power of dance to create meaningful inclusion - the absolute joy of a young person with Cerebral Palsy discovering they too can dance for the first time. We've watched our own shy youngest daughter grow in confidence and use dance to help build friendships and her identity. We've seen people from all kinds of different backgrounds becoming friends for life after meeting on the dance floor.
We've worked with women who have found new confidence in experimenting with dance in a truly safe and judgement-free environment. And we’ve found children and adults finding a common language through dance when they don’t share the same spoken language together. We’ve also helped many young people find opportunities to develop skills and experience by formally becoming helpers in our programmes.
We've continually worked with all kinds of people who have found their physical health improve over time including weight loss, muscle development and flexibility developing.
These aren’t just our experiences, there is a growing body of research which proves with significant data just how good dance is for our mental wellbeing as we find more to enjoy in life and as we grow our social connections.
The SCD team is led by Gemma Bonner who has successfully run community dance classes across Sutton for the last 15 years. The team have specialisms in contemporary dance, ballet, street, jazz, tap and ballroom & latin. Inclusion is at the heart of SCD with all 3 new studios being accessible for everyone and with teachers trained in supporting dancers with additional needs.
And now, having worked with the London Borough of Sutton, we’ve found an incredible new home to work from in September - a former Mothercare store in the town's St Nicholas shopping centre. This venue gives us the space we dreamed of to create 3 fully accessible and safe studio spaces with brilliant visibility in the town centre.
Location isn’t incidental to SCD, its central. We’ve been working with the London Borough of Sutton and town centre partners to find the best possible place to create the SCD hub within. We are delighted to have found a large, accessible, prominent and safe space within the disused former Mothercare store in Sutton’s St Nicholas Shopping Centre.
We want to be generating more footfall, more shopper investment and more pride in our town centre as a place to celebrate and enjoy community life. We want to encourage people to choose to shop and play locally not just online as a means of growing the local economy, strengthening community relationships and rejuvenating the town centre.
The London Borough of Sutton (LBS) are working hard to keep improving the high street’s cultural and commercial offer. SCD is a great partner for LBS and we love the passion, energy and creativity they bring to Sutton.
George McCullough, Sutton Town Centre Masterplan Delivery Programme Manager
Retail is evolving with leisure and community initiatives becoming an increasingly important part of our mix and long-term strategy. Sutton Community Dance is a great example of what the St Nicholas Centre can offer in terms of customer experience. SCD offers something unique and the dance hub is another really great reason to visit us.
Gavin Waller, St Nicholas Centre Director
We all know just how hard it is to kick off a new independent business, especially one that requires a building, with all the overheads required. Our location and building, however, are a huge part of our USP.
SCD has a solid business model to cover core operational costs for the year ahead but we simply don't have the upfront cash for the two priority needs set out below.
We want all our student fees to go into paying our fabulous teachers, covering our venue costs and to investing back into SCD resources & special events. We also want to continue working hard to keep our student fees as low as possible.
To launch successfully we need money up front to help us in two specific ways in order that we can hit the ground running and ensure we can offer the very best programme and facilities to our students, whatever their abilities and experience.
We have an amazing venue. To make it ready for everyone we need to quickly refurbish it and transform it from a large open plan former Mothercare shop to a state of the art, accessible creative hub with 3 dance studios for people of all abilities. We need to urgently equip our 3 new studios with quality audio visual equipment that will last for many years. We need to pay to bring the lift back into service and we need to create an accessible ‘wait & create’ space, reception area and changing rooms. All of this is really about boosting inclusion so the specific equipment we need ranges from hearing loops to quality lighting and speakers and even clear signage so people’s anxiety can be reduced (80% of our costs)
We know as a small local and independent business we have to work hard to grab people's attention. Much of this will be by word of mouth but we also need help in creating quality, eye catching marketing resources to help put SCD on the map in the first place. We want to use financial investment to leverage all of the local goodwill we are generating. Its incredible having people sharing our social media posts, for example and to reach the audiences we need to fill our classes we need to create materials such as vinyl banners, digital signage, flyers and some paid advertising. (20%)
These two discrete funding needs require urgent up-front funds which we simply don't have. Investment into these 2 strands ensures SCD reaches its target market AND has 3 brilliant studio spaces established which then allow the full range of classes to run, enabling SCD to become more self-sustaining financially over the coming months.
Thank you for considering investing in SCD and partnering with us.
The lasting difference you can make to our collective journey and the encouragement you can bring is huge.