Building on its growing roster of successful events, the last year has seen the group expand its offering, connect with local businesses and work in partnership with a range of likeminded organisations.
From modest beginnings that included singing groups, dance classes and film nights, KLEO was instrumental in planning, staging and establishing the Kinross-shire Music Festival in 2011. The annual event united schools, community groups, venues and the local authority, resulting in a showcase enjoyed equally by locals and visitors.
Now that event's success has inspired KLEO to reach even further, and the inaugural Kinross-shire Winter Festival was staged in November and December 2013 and 2014. Significantly expanding the original music festival with events including a sizeable street market, the winter festival broadened the group's opportunities to involve as many of the local community as possible. The result was a hugely successful team effort which again attracted residents and tourists, boosted the local economy and provided the group with a platform to build upon.
Central to both KLEO's and the festival's success is a strong belief in collaborative, community work. KLEO's members belong to a variety of other local groups - links that are now used to publicise events, secure support and give volunteer numbers a lift. Face-to-face efforts across the community are also now being backed by smart use of both traditional media and a growing digital presence.
The Winter Festival is promoted by a specially created community magazine. Bringing commercial partners on board, businesses from Kinross and nearby Loch Leven supported the magazine by buying advertising space. A reciprocal arrangement, the businesses benefitted from the publicity and the festival gained valuable backing and endorsement. Online promotion meanwhile, via the group's website, and a highly successful use of Twitter and Facebook, saw KLEO pushing publicity ever further. Moving forward, the group's love of collaboration is a perfect online fit, with connections being made with more and more Facebook groups and users.
Beyond the Winter Festival, KLEO is committed to a year-round rota of activities. On top of supporting annual events like the Loch Leven Half Marathon and the Open Farm Day. By playing to the area's strengths, these have attracted interest from outwith Kinross-shire and helped promote the locality as a tourism destination.
As KLEO continues developing its offering, members are keeping a close eye on effectiveness. Success is measured across a range of factors. As well as noting attendance numbers at events, feedback is gathered from the group's newsletter and website. Members also share opportunities to embrace best practice and do things even better using the group discussions that follow each event.
Plans for the 2015 Winter Festival are advancing, Looking to refine collaborative working, a database of contacts and partners is under construction, and KLEO's aim is to expand its events and continue working with more community, business and local authority partners.
"Despite our local focus, KLEO is very much aware of its role within Scotland's wider tourist industry." says Bouwien Bennet, Event Co-ordinator, "By working both in our community, and with national partners including VisitScotland, we're exposed to brilliant opportunities to create a buzz around Kinross-shire for our residents and the tourists and visitors we welcome."
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