Big Difference Company, the charity behind the annual Leicester Comedy Festival, have appointed a new General Manager to lead the organisation and support Geoff Rowe and the existing team in the development of the event and the year round community programme.  Helen Tomblin will formally join the organisation on 1st August 2018 and will be based in the main office at LCB Depot, located in Leicester’s Cultural Quarter.  
 
Helen is the founder of The Laughing Sole, which, at its launch was ground-breaking and hit the national press. She has over ten years’ experience as a comedy booker and promoter running her own club, alongside comedy fundraisers, events, conferences, workshops, talks and festivals including Birmingham Comedy Festival and Greenbelt Festival. She has worked with a number of key cultural organisations across the Midlands including work with Women & Theatre and Sampad – South Asian Arts. 
In addition to comedy, Helen is also committed to health & well-being and supporting children & young people. Previous jobs have included coordinating health programmes for Accord Housing Association, supporting vulnerable families for the charity Safe Families for Children and as Youth Adviser for The Church of England in Birmingham. 
Helen’s appointment is part of the sustainability plan which trustees of Big Difference Company have been developing over the last 2 years.  The plan intends to support the continued development and sustainability of Leicester Comedy Festival, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in February 2018.  The festival is the main project produced by the charity, in addition to community projects which take place throughout the year. These projects have recently involved children and young people, older people and people with disabilities. 
On announcing the appointment, Martyn Allison, Chair of Big Difference Company, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Helen to the team and know she will be a huge asset to our charity. Helen will work closely with our trustees and Geoff Rowe (Festival Director) and the team, to build on the success of the last 25 years and help us deliver the sustainability plan. We need to continue to work with partners to deliver Leicester Comedy Festival and our community programme so we can continue to improve social, economic and cultural wellbeing. We know the festival and our other work make a significant impact to Leicester & Leicestershire and we want to continue this for another 25 years.”
Helen said: “I’m so excited to accept this role with Big Difference Company. The charity’s values of encouraging greater well-being and promoting comedy and the arts by empowering children, young people and other community groups, are so aligned with my own that this feels like the perfect fit. I am passionate about comedy and humour and how it can enable greater communication, build life skills and better relationships and I cannot wait to get going. I am honoured to be working alongside Geoff Rowe, the founder of Leicester Comedy Festival and together, with a strong staff team and Board of Trustees, working to broaden the smile and truly make a big difference.”
Leicester Comedy Festival 2019 will take place from 6-24 February and the full programme will be launched on 1stNovember.  The festival regularly features over 850 events, across the 19 days, and the event remains the biggest comedy festival in Europe.  Further details about the festival can be found by visiting www.comedy-festival.co.uk
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