The Salford University Dance Society had smiles all around on Saturday as they reunited for their annual 12 hour danceathon after Covid prevented them from any in-person activity over the last 13 months.
Members of the society were out in the glaring sun dancing for a cause as they attempted to raise funds for charity Manchester Action on Street Health (MASH).
Taking to Peel Park to show off their moves, the group were relishing the chance to finally be back together and doing what they love.
Chair of the society, Jemima Kerkham, said: “It feels amazing to be back out, just seeing people, there’s some freshers that we haven’t even met and they are coming down today so it’s so good to see everyone’s face.
“We haven’t been able to meet each other once all year so yeah it’s been so much fun.”
Manchester Action on Street Health is a charity that offers advice and support to women working within the sex industry.
The charity has its own drop-in centre along with a late-night mobile drop-in van in operation around Manchester and Cheetham Hill.
Speaking on the decision to raise funds for charity MASH, Jemima reflected on the importance of bringing awareness to a charity that is often not represented.
Jemima said: “It’s so important, we as a society are majority women, there’s a couple of boys but mostly is women so picking a charity which helped some of the most vulnerable women in society was so important and it is a charity which might not be very well-known.
“I just thought yeah that’s a really good cause and I hadn’t seen a charity fundraiser for them.”
The Salford University danceathon returns after a year’s hiatus as a result of Covid cancelling the 2020 plans.
Previous years have all been big successes for the group.
Although restrictions have still had an impact on the ability to raise funds such as the lack of bucket-collections and no big crowds permitted to gather, the society is still remaining positive on the amount of money and awareness that they can raise.
Jemima added: “It’s quite hard to raise the same amount of money [as previous years].
“We are currently on about £170, we are hoping to get it higher throughout the day and afterwards, publicising it with videos about the event so hopefully it should go higher as more people hear about it but we think any amount of money would be great for the charity.”
Society member Morgan Brown, 20, expressed her delight at being able to get back dancing.
She said: “Oh my god it is so nice, we’ve literally not seen each other since March 2020 like this is the first time we have seen each other.
“It’s so nice to just come and chat and dance and it’s like 20 degrees which is so nice.”
Morgan added: “A couple of us have had to sit down a bit, my feet are hurting but we’ve got lots of water, we’ve brought sweets, we’ve brought crisps, all the essentials to keep us going so we’re doing quite well I think.
“We’re going strong”.
The Salford University danceathon group kept dancing from 9:00am until 9:00pm in the glorious sunshine which gave the group the extra boost to keep on going.
Morgan said: “The sun has helped us definitely.
“We we’re saying that last time we did this it was absolutely chucking it down in rain so there was no one here, we had rain macs on, so to be able to dance in blue skies, 20 degree heat it’s just made it so much better and so much nicer.”
Morgan added: “After having a year of not doing anything it’s so nice to come out and actually raise money and do something for someone else rather than just sitting inside and doing nothing.”
The society hope that this is just the start of getting back to normal for the group and being able to get back together for in-person dancing sessions.
You can donate to their fundraiser for Manchester Action on Street Health here: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/danceathonsuds
Should you need support from Manchester Action on Street Health, you can find their website here: www.mash.org.uk
You can keep up to date with the Salford University Dance Society by following them on Instagram here: www.instagram.com/salfordunidance