UK charity launches first ever radio station for the homeless.

The radio station will train 40 young homeless people to digitally broadcast their stories, operate a radio desk and present, record and edit digital podcasts.

A youth homelessness charity has secured funding to launch the UK’s first ‘Radio Station for the Homeless’.

The charity Accumulate received the startup funding from Nesta as a part of its Amplified programme designed to encourage creative digital ideas that generate positive social outcomes.

The project is the brainchild of Marice Cumber, founder of Accumulate, who wanted homeless people to be more involved in programming about homelessness.

Cumber said: “I was listening to a radio programme which had a feature on homelessness it became apparent to me that it was always the ‘non homeless’ that were making the programmes about the ‘homeless’ and I thought about the message there.”

The radio station will train 40 young, homeless people to digitally broadcast their own stories.

The project is being run in partnership with Ravensbourne University London, which will train the participants to learn digital skills, operate a radio desk and present, record and edit digital podcasts.

Marginalised voice

Cumber said: “If we were able to train people who are homeless in radio and podcasting skills, we could then give them ownership of their stories and a means to broadcast these to an audience.”

Image: @Accumulate_Ldn

The digital training programme is not only designed to find routes into employment or education, but is an initiative that gives a much needed voice to a marginalised community – young people who are homeless. The idea for Radio Station for the Homeless came about after observing the Thamesmead Estate Residents Group attend a community radio training course at Ravensbourne University London.

The group involved in the course became empowered through the experience and this was something that Accumulate wanted to replicate for young homeless people.

The organisers hope the young people involved will begin to naturally develop and gain confidence with the knowledge that they are being listened to helping their sense of identity and self-esteem.

Cumber said: “It will not all be about being homeless! It will be diverse and creative content made and broadcasted by people affected by homelessness – their music, their stories, their spoken word, their poetry, their interviews and programmes about the issues that matter to them.

The project will start out in London however, it is hoped in future that they will be able to attract creative content from across the UK making a truly diverse and representative podcast.

This will be possible by working with housing organisations and hostels inviting their residents to create and send music, stories, interviews, poetry and spoken word to the radio station.

The above article by Catherine Wiltshire first published on bigissue.com in Apr, 2019.