Telford Academy takes huge steps forward thanks to high street funding

A popular dance and performance academy in Oakengates is making all the right moves on the high street thanks to support from Telford & Wrekin Council’s Pride in Our High Street programme.

Telford Academy takes huge steps forward thanks to high street funding

Telford Academy of Performing Arts, which spans over two units on Oxford Street in the town, has received a façade grant to improve the outside appearance of its studio and eco grants to reduce costs and become more eco-friendly during the energy crisis.

Delighted owner Kerry Perks-Sismanidis applied for the façade grant to replace tiling at the front of the units which was chipped and in poor repair.

She has also used the grant to repaint the academy’s entrance area and install new window vinyls to make it more appealing to clients and passers-by.

In addition, Kerry applied for an eco insulation grant which is funding the insulation of internal walls and ceilings and bringing the rear dance studio into use - creating extra space for her weekly sessions. 

The rear studio interior is currently painted breezeblock wall surfaces but the insulation will reduce the space which needs to be heated by approximately 40%, bringing energy costs down and increasing footfall by making more internal space available.

A second eco equipment grant will also support Kerry’s plans for the installation of new LED lighting to reduce energy costs in the dance studio.

The studio currently uses fluorescent strip lights throughout its two units, including the upper floor space, which are not energy efficient.

With over 30 years of experience, Telford Academy of Performing Arts has developed a fun and friendly environment for adults and children to learn and enjoy performing arts. 

Classes are available for all ages and abilities and teachers are passionate about the arts and dedicated to passing on their skills and knowledge following years of training and performing.

Kerry is thrilled with the additional funding which she says will make a big difference to the business going forward.

She said: “The ceiling insulation is now complete while the other insulation work is ongoing so it will make a big difference to our energy costs going forward.

“This work isn’t just about helping me and my business to keep costs down – it’s also helping my clients and families that use the facilities because I want to keep the service as affordable as possible for them without having to increase my prices. 

“I’m really pleased with the external work which has been completed as well and lots of people have been very positive and said what a huge difference it has made.

“I’m very grateful for this funding which is giving the academy an uplift both inside and outside.”

Katherine Kynaston, Telford & Wrekin Council’s director for housing, employment & infrastructure, said: “Telford Academy of Performing Arts occupies a large space covering two units in Oakengates.

“We’re pleased to support Kerry with this funding which is helping her reduce energy costs in what is a big space to heat and light up and also improve the overall appearance of the academy.

“This business is in a prime location in Oakengates and attracts business not only from the town itself but from customers all over Telford. 

“As well as generating more footfall for the high street, the support for the Academy is helping to improve the look and feel of Oakengates generally and increase the town’s appeal to visitors.”

Telford & Wrekin Council’s eco grant of up to £500 supports energy saving and environmentally-friendly initiatives and encourages high street businesses to adopt a greener approach, while the façade grant of up to £2,000 can be used to replace fascia signboards, hanging signs and shop frontage painting.

These are just two grants which are available through the Pride in Our High Street programme to support businesses in towns across the borough – increasing footfall and making them more attractive places to shop and visit.

You can find out more about support for high street businesses and the Pride in Our High Street programme here.

Photo: Back row (l-r) Poppy Allen, Kerry Perks-Sismanidis and Elena Sismanidis and front row (l-r) are Clarissa Settembrini, Rosie Allen and Gessica Settembrini outside the studio.