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Community Radio Unites in Rally Cry

Community radio stations across the country have united on social media and in song to raise awareness and support for the sector.

Over 50 stations have written to John Whittingdale MP, Ian O’Neil at DCMS and Dame Melanie Dawes at OFCOM, following the announcement of changes to the Community Radio Fund, which stations say doesn’t go far enough to sustain the future of the sector.

SUSY Radio was born on 3rd November, 1996 after two trials, “Jubilee FM” in June, 1994 and “Trust FM” in September, 1995.
The station then continued its campaign by broadcasting for the permitted periods available under the temporary licence arrangements available (Restricted Service Licence) resulting in the eventual award of a full time permanent licence allowing broadcasts to begin on 15th July, 2012.

Susy Radio is a “not for profit” community radio station operated by a team of volunteers, many who have also been involved in the professional radio industry, and the station serves the people of Reigate and Redhill and the immediate surrounding area. It provides local news, information and entertainment and promotes local community access and involvement, supporting local events, organisations, arts and local talent. It encourages social cohesion and provides training facilities within the operation of the community radio station.

On Friday May 1st, at 9.15am, stations across the country took to social media to promote the work the sector continues to deliver and request more support from the Government.

The posts showcased how this essential pillar of communication is continuing to deliver local news, information and entertainment to communities, either from home, or from studios, in compliance with social distancing rules.

Stations united to play The Beatles ‘All You Need Is Love’, at 9:15am on Friday morning with an accompanying video shared online.

Nathan Spackman, operations director at Bro Radio in South Wales, is one of those leading the calls.

He said, “The announcement of the repurposing of the Community Radio Fund is welcome and I praise OFCOM, DCMS and the Community Media Association for their work in turning this over so quickly. As welcome as the announcement is, with almost 300 stations on air we estimate that only 40 radio stations will benefit from the fund, based on a grant of £10,000 per station. We are calling on DCMS and MP’s to review the fund, to support more stations during these challenging times.”

Barry Clack, founder and director of Witney Radio in Oxfordshire, said: “Supporting Community Radio is a vital campaign to the nearly 300 licensed OFCOM community stations in the UK. The stations broadcast to the hyperlocal communities in the country and during these horrific times of crisis, all the hard work is heard by listeners, keeping them informed and entertained during this period of lockdown. Community Radio has never been more important than now in delivering content to its listeners and so we ask people to #SupportCommunityRadio.”

Martin Steers, manager of NLive Radio in Northampton, added: “I’m passionate about raising the profile of Community Radio and all the great work these stations are doing all over the country for the communities they serve at this time. I hope this campaign will raise awareness that Community Radio stations need supporting, locally and nationally.”

Pictured:
SUSY Radio Presenter, Joe Exler’s home studio
© @JoeExler 2020

#RadioFromHome
#SupportCommunityRadio

Harlequin Theatre re-purposed as community support centre

The closed Harlequin Theatre has been given a new role as the centre of the Council’s community support initiative.

It has been re-purposed as the centre employed with the organising of essential assistance for vulnerable residents affected by the coronavirus epidemic.

Council staff have been redeployed from their normal jobs and are joined by volunteers in distributing food, medicines and essential supplies to high risk and vulnerable residents needing to stay at home, as well as to those in severe financial need.

The Council is working with Voluntary Action Reigate & Banstead (VARB) to mobilise and coordinate the volunteer response to Coronavirus, and additional volunteers would be most welcome. Anyone wishing to volunteer can register on the VARB website at https://www.varb.org.uk

Cllr Mark Brunt, Leader of Reigate & Banstead Borough Council, spoke with Neil Munday about the project:

The Harlequin is not open to the public. If you need support, see the Council’s ‘I need help‘ page or call 01737 276000

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