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Alesha Dixon backing lottery funding for arts in poorer communities

Published 22/02/2016

Alesha Dixon with representatives from four projects funded by National Lottery Good Causes
Alesha Dixon with representatives from four projects funded by National Lottery Good Causes

Alesha Dixon has said it is "heartbreaking" when children from poorer backgrounds cannot afford to pursue their dreams in the arts.

The singer and Britain's Got Talent judge recalled her own childhood when her family could not afford to send her to stage school.

She said: "When I was growing up, and I think about my local area, I don't really remember many places that I could go to as a creative person, someone who loved singing, loved dancing, loved acting.

"I didn't have any money. I couldn't afford stage school, I didn't have money for that, and I feel like it shouldn't be people that are born into privileged situations that get these opportunities."

Dixon is an ambassador for the National Lottery, which is celebrating a record £179 million raised in January to go towards arts, sports, heritage and community projects. This is the highest figure raised in single month.

She said: "Everybody plays the lottery because they want to change their lives, but the reality is even if you don't win, you are still changing other people's lives."

The 37-year-old, who was born in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, added: "Anyone should feel like there's something out there for them and a platform for them and an opportunity.

"So that's why I say it's very important to make sure in poor communities all around the country there are places that support the arts, funding for the arts - so that young children at school know that there are opportunities and don't feel like it's out of their reach because they can't afford to do it. That's heartbreaking."

She said: "I want my child to grow up thinking that nothing's out of her reach, that anything she wants to put her mind at and do, that she can."

Dixon and her partner, former backing dancer Azuka Ononye, have a daughter, two-year-old Azura, who is already showing signs of taking after her mother's interest in music and her father's dance skills.

Dixon said: "I go home and all she wants to do is dance around in a tutu, which is very sweet. She loves singing too. She's already showing signs of being quite musical.

"She's just very expressive, so I guess she takes after her mum and her dad.

"Her favourite song at the moment is Wheels On The Bus, but she does like hop hop, she does like a bit of R&B, she likes a bit of jazz. Loves Adele, absolutely loves her. She's got great taste."

Dixon was a member of girl group Mis-Teeq from 1999 to 2005, before leaving to pursue a solo career.

She said: "Whenever I do put my music on, she especially loves the Do It For Love album. And there's a song on the record that I wrote for her, called Azura.

"It's really strange how a child can't string two sentences together, but she can sing along to a song. She knows a lot of the words off my record, which is lovely."

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