Hft | About us | Collinges get their dancing shoes on for Hft

2021-02-10 12:16:33

Two times British Hairdresser of the Year, Andrew Collinge and his wife, top make-up artist Liz Collinge, are taking to the dance floor this Valentine’s Day to raise money for a charity close to their hearts.

Andrew and Liz are marking the most romantic day of the year by dancing the Sweetheart Waltz to raise funds for Hft, a national charity supporting adults with learning disabilities. They were inspired to take on the challenge by Andrew’s sister, who has been supported by one of the charity’s services in Ellesmere Port for the last six years. After seeing the care and dedication shown to Andrew’s sister by her support workers during a difficult year, the couple wanted to get involved in Hft’s 1.4 challenge this Valentine’s Day.

Liz has always loved dancing and thought this would be a great way to support the charity. She is now busy teaching Andrew the steps to the Sweetheart Waltz each day, leading up to 14 February. The couple are sharing their progress on social media and on Hft’s Instagram account (@Hftlearningdisabilities), culminating in a 14 minute video of non-stop waltzing on Valentine’s Day. Already well on their way to passing their £500 target, Andrew and Liz are hoping to raise a significant amount while inspiring others to have a go at the routine while in lockdown.  

The pair, who live on the Wirral, are longstanding supporters of Hft, and have raised tens of thousands of pounds for the charity over the years. Since Andrew’s first sponsored walk aged ten, the couple have supported a range of key projects, including a hair salon in Bradford where people with learning disabilities can learn new skills and a Flintshire-based supported employment initiative, and more recently a gazebo project in Cheshire and Merseyside, allowing people supported by Hft to safely meet up with loved ones. The family are no strangers to creative fundraising, and have hosted an annual golf day for the last 14 years, while Andrew’s sister Sarah holds a popular annual quiz night.

The challenge forms part of Hft’s 1.4 challenge event, which sees the charity asking fundraisers to raise money by taking on activities based around the numbers 1 and 4, such as dancing for 14 minutes, or making 14 Valentine’s Day cards. All funds raised will go towards supporting people with learning disabilities to stay healthy and happy during the pandemic.

Andrew Collinge said:

“We always like to support Hft – it’s an amazing charity supporting amazing people but this year has been particularly difficult. It has been a huge change for those with learning disabilities – often a bit frightening and difficult to understand, and social distancing has meant that many activities have not been possible. It has been very reassuring to know that those who support my sister have taken so much care to make it a safe environment in the pandemic. Hft has been careful to protect those they support, both practically and emotionally, but this has involved organisation and imagination. A perfect example of this is the gazebos that are being installed in the gardens at Hft properties, allowing family and loved ones to meet up once restrictions are eased.”

Liz Collinge said:

“The Sweetheart Waltz seemed the ideal dance and a fun opportunity to support Hft. Then I had to persuade Andrew that it was good idea! The challenge is going well so far – the steps are quite simple and the dance doesn’t take up much room which is ideal for lockdown. If you’re single you could even learn it virtually and make a proposal to dance it with someone after lockdown! Best of all, we’re delighted to be raising money for Hft, to help them continue to support people with learning disabilities through the pandemic.”

Follow Hft (@Hftlearningdisabilities) and Liz Collinge (@lizcollinge) on Instagram to find out more. To donate to the Collinges’ challenge, visit their fundraising page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/LizandAndrewCollinge

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About Hft

Hft is a national charity supporting more than 2,500 adults with learning disabilities across England and Wales to live the best life possible. Established in 1962, the charity uses its own unique Fusion Model to consistently deliver high quality, person-centred support across all its services.

Services range from supported living to residential care – from a few hours a week to 24 hours a day. Hft also helps people with learning disabilities to take part in daily activities, make friends and develop relationships and to find work.

For more information about Hft, please visit www.hft.org.uk

Information about learning disabilities

A learning disability can be mild, moderate, severe or profound and is defined as having a reduced ability to:

  • Understand new or complex information
  • Learn new skills
  • Live independently

For more information about learning disabilities, please visit www.hft.org.uk/resources-and-guidance