Earlier this year, local radio station, Gateway 97.8 launched a special project called ‘On The Radio’ to help vulnerable local residents.
The station distributed radios to residents who are over 70 and isolating. The free radios have the station, on 97.8FM, as a saved pre-set.
This came as millions of people were asked to stay in their homes and self-isolate. Gateway 97.8 recognised that radio is a vital source of news information and companionship in these times.
With the initial project starting in Basildon where the Round Table of Basildon and Rotary Club of East Thurrock supported the campaign along with BBWCVS, radios were distributed to individuals in Basildon as well as to care homes. The project also supported people in Thurrock where they were distributed as well.
The National Lottery came on board and the Radio Hub networking group supporting community radio across the UK then distributed to 20 areas across the UK including in Wales and Scotland.
Groundwork and Tesco finished the project allowing the station to give more radios to voluntary organisations all across the country.For Example Age Uk and local CVS helped distribute.
Danny Lawrence who organised the project said: “I am delighted we have been able to provide a source of companionship to people across the country. My home has become a warehouse at times over the past few months, with daily shipments coming in being checked and going out!” I am also delighted that some community radio stations have been awarded funding in the areas they serve to continue award radios to the people they serve on the strength of our project.”
John Whittingdale MP, Minister at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said:“I was delighted to hear about the success of your ‘On The Radio’ project – a fantastic initiative, which I’m sure will have brought a great deal of pleasure to many listeners across the UK during these difficult times. I look forward to visiting Gateway 97.8 in the future. Keep up the good work!”
John Baron, MP for Basildon and Billericay hoffered his congratulations: “I congratulate all involved on the success of this project, which has had an impressive reach. Thousands of radios have been distributed, helping to keep people in touch, informed and entertained during these challenging times.”
The project has seen messages from some famous faces too: Cheryl Baker. Rula Lenska, Nigel Havers and Actor Shaun Williamson.
Gateway 97.8 can be heard on 97.8fm in Basildon and East Thurrock, on the Gateway 97.8 app or online at: www.gateway978.com