Next time you are up at Tesco’s in Shepton Mallet, the cashier might give you a little blue plastic token. You might already know this is to pop in the ‘Bags of Help’ charity collection point by the exit doors..but incase you didn’t know, I’ll explain. Bags of Help is Tesco’s local community grant scheme where the money raised by the sale of carrier bags is being used to fund thousands of local projects in communities right across the UK. This month you’ll see Junior Parkrun, St.Margaret’s Hospice and our very own Shepton Mallet Community Radio station vying for your tokens in a bid to secure either a £1,000, £2,000 or £4,000 grant.
All three are very deserving, but I wanted to explain a little more about how money raised for a local radio station might be used to benefit our community.
Around 11 million people are now able to tune into community radio stations across the UK. This figure is up 17% year-on-year according to a report by Ofcom - however, not in Shepton ! Community radio stations typically cover a small geographical area but, especially in rural communities can serve a diverse audience with content ranging from local news and information to religious issues, discussion and debate, music , dramas and entertainment. Phone in’s and competitions can not only promote local businesses but keep geographically isolated listeners connected. SMCR - Shepton Mallet Community Radio would especially like to include content and promote the activities of our small villages, and as well as lot’s of stuff for younger people, we want to provide engaging and interesting programming for more elderly listeners. It sounds ticky, but local radio has been managing this for years - with tried and tested scheduling and formats to suit a wide range of tastes.
I started my media career aged just 15, working weekends at BBC Radio Shropshire, physically splicing tape - before the dawn of digital! Later I worked at Galaxy 102.2, Capital Gold , BRMB, Kic FM , and Heart FM before becoming station manager of a community Youth Radio station in Walsall. We got disengaged kids off the street, and trained them to become dj’s and journalists- gaining NVQ awards. That is part of the plan right here in Somerset too. SMCR would love to involve as many volunteers as possible to become presenters, djs, producers, journalists and technicians. We could not only broadcast live from Collettfest, the carnival, the lantern parade ,mid somerset show and Sunday markets but also report from small church fetes, fun runs and open days. Recording interviews with all the local sports clubs, societies, schools, charities, community groups and entrepeneurs. To do this we need funding for equipment, software, licences and legal fees, rent for our town centre premises, marketing and training costs. Every penny we raise will ultimately promote our own community , so please pop a few blue tokens in for us. Glastonbury has Gfm, Frome has Frome FM - now lets have SMCR and put Shepton Mallet on the map!
I’m really enjoying this hot sunny weather. It was perfect for the recent World Cup & Caribbean food tasting family fun day held up at Shepton Mallet FC & the scout hut. Jackrock Caribbean Takeaway, who are planning to open a permanent restaurant in Shepton Mallet - served up Jerk Chicken, Curry goat , rice and peas, while the kids played on free bouncy castles. Cheers went up each time England scored- which we did 6 times against Panama. It was the perfect day! Then, this Saturday crowds gathered to watch local lad Ethan Andrews, run a whopping 10k round Collett Park - to raise money for ‘Time Is Precious’ charity. His mother, friends and family were bursting with pride as Ethan flew past the finish line at Shepton Parkrun event - having completed 6 instead of the usual 3 laps. I know this boy personally, and as he is too modest to say. I want everyone to know that this boy chose to raise money for charity, on a boiling hot summers day instead of having a 13th birthday party! He hoped to raise a couple of hundred pounds, but actually managed to smash his target with a £748 total . There is still time to donate, and I know it would mean the world, not only to Ethan , but to all those who have ever used Bristol Children’s Hospital, Frenchay and RUH Children’s ward, which the charity supports. ‘Time is Precious’ is a voluntary run charity which has been running since 2011. It was set up by Neil and Nicky Halford in memory of their son Ben sadly died from cancer in 2010. He was cared for at these local facilities. The website states “The aim of the charity is to help create a more comfortable and relaxed atmosphere for children and their families. We work alongside specialists to purchase equipment and refurbish areas to support not just those children who because of illness or disability find themselves in hospital for treatment but also their families who want to be with them because time is just that precious.” Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ethans10k to donate.
Lovely weather for the lido !
How lucky are we to have a lido in Shepton Mallet?! Prices are affordable, and they run adults only sessions as well as aquafit and full moon specials. Local lady Jane Andrews tries to go atleast twice a week for a fitness swim, she is an avid believer that swimming in the open air is a tonic for the body and soul. "I love to feel the fresh air on my face as I swim along, I look at the lovely trees in the park, and listen to the bird song. There is nothing quite like it. I used to enjoy open water swimiing, in lakes or rivers for example- but this is alot safer, and warmer!"
Outdoor exercise is so good for you. There is a big craze at the moment for 'green gyms' and free running in woods for example. Shepton Mallet is way ahead of the times. Prices are vary affordable - under £3 for kids over 5, and under £6 for adults. But buying a fusion leisure membership or season pass is the best value.
Go to https://www.fusion-lifestyle.com/centres/shepton-mallet-lido/
You can buy ice-creams & refreshments from the little shop it’s a great day out for young or old. Do check their facebook page before you go during busy times and heatwaves- to avoid disappointment!
I'm a 43 year old, mum of two little boys- currently living in Shepton Mallet in Somerset. I'm the Founder and Creative Director of Radio Shepton, a Stand up and comedian and spoken word performer, and write a regular column for The Wells and Shepton Mallet Journal. Which is the basis for my blog usually. I lived in Swedish Lapland for 7 years until 2014 where my boys were born. My partner and I ran a husky dog sledding business. Before that I was a poet, radio presenter, media lecturer, writer, TV producer, actress and burlesque performer ! I never want my life to be boring :)