Kempsey's recent Glitz and Glamour Ball, held in conjunction with A Big Day Out festival-style event for International Day Of People With A Disability, were both a rousing success, much to the delight of organisers.
Manager of Key Employment Lisa Reed and 2IC Adelle Riddel spent countless hours of their own time organising the events as part of their duties on the Disability Steering Committee, chaired by Stephen Neale from Kempsey Shire Council.
"We easily had 300 people come through at the Big Day Out, by the end of the day all our food was gone," Adelle said.
"The Glitz and Glamour Ball saw 140 in attendance; the dance floor was full all night, everyone had a great time," Lisa said.
Both events were made possible by sponsors, with Key employment leading the way as the principal sponsor, along with volunteers and donations.
"Everything raised went into funding the Glitz and Glamour Ball, and the Big Day Out, there was some leftover which we have put towards next year," Lisa said.
"Council has been wonderful, Key Employment has formed a great working relationship with them, and together we are working to provide an inclusive environment for people with a disability in the Macleay.
"A lot of people were involved in making this a success, and we can't thank them all enough, the Disability Steering Committee, Kempsey Shire Council, all our wonderful sponsors, the Slim Dusty Centre, and of course the community."
Next year, the plan to go bigger and with a new event added to the line-up, the organisers hope to keep the positive momentum going well into the future.
The evening itself was beautifully presented and engineered an atmosphere of acceptance and inclusion for everyone.Local parent
"After the success of the Glitz and Glamour Ball, the Disability Steering Committee received requests for an under 18s night, so next year there will be a Debutant Ball for people with a disability," Adelle said.
So far, all the feedback for the events has been positive, with many who went along with their children praising how inclusive both days were.
"I can't explain how happy we were for our son Todd to totally relax and enjoy himself, a sight we had never seen before, he is a dance floor devil," one parent said.
"It was one of the happiest nights of Lauren's life, and consequently one of the happiest nights of my life too," another said.
"The evening itself was beautifully presented and engineered an atmosphere of acceptance and inclusion for everyone."
Expressions of interest for sponsoring next years festivities are currently open, but Lisa warns that sponsorship opportunities will fill up fast.
"We have been getting a lot of inquiries, so any organisations in the community who would like to be part of next years events should get in quick," she said.
Anybody interested in joining the Community Disability Workgroup that meets monthly, can contact Stephen Neale at Kempsey Shire Council for more information.
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