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Ballet Twins need help to continue their training

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I'd like to let you know about our current situation and our reasons for starting this fundraiser. My husband Simon and I are both self-employed and have always worked hard to provide for our family of 4 boys, giving them the opportunity to pursue their interests.
I'm a dance teacher and Simon is a wall and floor tiler. Since covid and now with the cost of living crisis, my pupil numbers have dropped considerably and Simon's workload has also decreased leaving us with a much lower income than normal. With support from us and the training I was able to provide for them, at the age of 11 our twin boys successfully auditioned for and gained places at prestigious ballet schools. They both received funding from the government through the MDS award, (with a contribution from us based on our income) allowing them to pursue their dreams.
For 5 years Sam has been a pupil at The Royal Ballet School in London, gaining one of only 12 places available to boys worldwide and he passed yearly assessments to keep his place. He has now successfully auditioned for and accepted a place at English National Ballet School in Chelsea, London to complete his training over the next 3 years. Haydn has been a pupil at Elmhurst Ballet School in Birmingham for the past 5 years, again gaining one of a limited number of places and he has now successfully auditioned for and accepted a place at The Hammond School, Chester as he now wishes to diversify to more general dance and musical theatre training.
The training they receive at this level can't be provided by local schools or colleges. It needs to be highly specialised and intensive in order for them to reach the standard required to join a ballet company or West End show. The teachers at their chosen schools have the highest level of expertise, giving Sam and Haydn their greatest chance of success.
Both boys have been successful in being awarded government Dance and Drama Awards (DaDA) which are given to the top percentage of students that each college believes will be successful in their chosen career and the level of financial help is based on family income. For us as a family, this means that the substantial school fees should be covered in full, but all accommodation, food, travel, uniform, private medical insurance (compulsory) and summer school fees will need to be met by us, less a small contribution from the DaDA.
Truthfully, we had no idea when we started this journey that the funding differed so greatly for lower school (year 7-11 high school) and upper school (year 12-14 6th form). To put into perspective the difference, with MDS funding for lower school, additional consideration was given to families with more than one child studying at ballet school and funding was provided at a realistic level to cover the majority of the boarding costs for those who needed the help. With the DaDA however, no consideration is given for more than one family member studying, nor to the varying and substantial costs of accommodation. Our boys are not entitled to apply for any other government funding or even a student loan, so the substantial shortfall in money falls to us to find.
Simon and I have made many sacrifices in order to support Haydn and Sam and we'll continue to do so, however over the last 5 years we've exhausted our very limited savings and the funds from a personal loan that we took on to help towards costs and until we explore our options further we have nothing left to give.
Any funding raised by this page will help to support the twins particularly during their first year while we look for alternative income opportunities. We are looking at sponsorships and re-mortgaging our house, however as we own a mixed-use business/residential property, banks are reluctant to lend. Selling our home is also not an option as I run my business from there.

The money we need to find is as follows:

Accommodation Sam £9,180. Haydn £5,325
Medical Insurance Sam £1,345. Haydn £1,345
Uniform Sam £500. Haydn £500
Food/Travel Sam £3,750. Haydn £500
Summer school Sam £1,780. Haydn £650
Total £24,875

These costs are the same regardless of family income and to give an example of funding help provided towards accommodation and living costs by the DaDA, I have included a sample of figures below. These can also be found on the government website by searching Dance and Drama Awards.

Income Band
£25,001-27,000 London(Sam) £2,320 Outside London(Haydn)£1,950=£4,250
£27,001-30,000 London(Sam) £1,350 Outside London(Haydn)£1,000=£2,350
£30,001+ £0

As you can see, if we don't manage to raise any finance, we would need to pay between £20,625-£24,875 per year. This wouldn't leave us enough to live on as our income last year fell just into the first income band.

I urge any of you that are interested in the Art's industry or who enjoy going to watch theatre shows or ballet performances to please consider helping our boys follow their dreams. They are both truly remarkable and I would hate for the last 5 years they have spent working so hard, and being away from their family and each other to be for nothing. Telling Haydn and Sam at this point that they now can't complete their training is not an option. We have to find a way to make this work.

Thankyou so much for reading and I hope you feel able to make a contribution, however small. If you can't then please share this page publicly on your social media to help raise awareness, not just for my boys, but also the many other talented students who must be in the same position.



  • Nicola Stockdale
    • £40 
    • 1 yr
  • Anonymous
    • £5 
    • 1 yr
  • Roger McGeachin
    • £200 
    • 1 yr
  • Anonymous
    • £20 
    • 1 yr
  • Emily Roylance
    • £20 
    • 1 yr


Sylvia Astbury

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