Our multi-award-winning team at BFBS Live Events (formerly CSE) delivered two consecutive annual events to support the children of military families in the Gosport District. We were asked to create occasions that would boost morale in this armed forces community, and encourage a better understanding of and empathy towards service children. Profits from all our commercial services are re-invested into our charitable activities. The BFBS Live Events Beneficiary Fund means the armed forces and wider military community can apply for free events and entertainment where there is a welfare requirement. This project was one of our successful applicants.
We were tasked with helping to grow this event from a modest picnic of 40 people from a couple of schools, to include all schools in the district and increase attendance to over 500. We happily accepted the request and provided the organiser, Elise Gower – Service Family Link Worker at Alverstoke Church of England Junior School – with a memorable day of fun and celebration for families, both military and local. The events were also important in creating opportunities for families to relax in the company of other people going through the same challenges that life in the armed forces brings.
Each year we provided a bespoke solution for the party-in-the-park-style event. This involved full planning, event management, and co-ordination of BFBS Radio and online coverage. Recognising how isolating and disruptive it can be for children when a parent is deployed, and with multiple moves during their school life, the event matched the aims of our Beneficiary Fund.
We funded a wonderful range of family entertainment, enhancing the ‘picnic’ to a festival, this included:
- Tribute act Bruno Mars v Olly Murs
- Covers band
- Family disco
- Mr Tumble, Minion and Gruffalo Mascot show
- Bubble Max
- 7ft Transformers character, Bumblebee
- Balloon modelling and face painting
- Interactive percussion installation, Play the Rig
- Trailer stage, sound, lighting and power
The entertainment was complemented by stands manned by military charities, who were signposting families to the support and help that’s available during times of deployment and transition, which benefited both the families at home and the person deployed.
Both events were hugely successful, boosting the number of attendees to more than 500. Together with the schools in the Gosport District, we aspire to go bigger and better in the future.