Local Offer Live was started in 2015 by Voluntary Action Leicester (VAL) and is a not-for-profit event which aims to give a voice to the disabled community of Leicestershire, providing a safe forum for young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to learn about vital services available to them. For their second annual event in February 2016, VAL had ambitions for a larger, more exciting programme with a much wider reach. With £6,000 funding from Leicester City Council and a projected income of £12,000 through the sale of exhibition space, there was a considerable £9,000 shortfall in the budget, which exceeded £27,000.
Originally on board solely as the host venue, Curve theatre became event partners to provide the experience and creativity to deliver a diverse and impactful event that was within budget. The team negotiated with suppliers, eventually reducing equipment hire and technical costs from the projected £4,900 down to £1,868. Remploy, the UK’s largest employment agency for people with disabilities, also pledged £6,000 to sponsor Bamboozle Theatre’s production of Moon Song, which went a long way to offset the projected performance costs of £9,300.
The event itself was a triumph, with over 3,000 attendees enjoying a varied programme of workshops, seminars and performances for free. The 150 stand exhibition provided young people with SEND the chance to gain vital information which would directly impact their lives, whilst the exciting artistic programme was a truly enriching addition.
Due to the success of the event, Local Offer Live has been confirmed for 2017 with more investment from Leicester City Council, as well as Leicester and Rutland Councils coming on board to support the project.