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 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 :)