Hartlepool community radio station tunes in to Newcastle Building Society grant

Release Date: 2nd February 

A community radio station in Hartlepool is aiming to widen participation in its programming amongst local people after a four-figure grant nominated through the local branch of Newcastle Building Society for new digital equipment.

Hartlepool Community Broadcasting Limited is the licensee of Radio Hartlepool, a not-for-profit radio station which runs 24 hours, seven days a week thanks to the commitment of more than 40 regular volunteers.

The station, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary, broadcasts to East Durham, Stockton, Middlesbrough and Billingham, as well as across its home town, and was one of the first of its type in the country to obtain a community radio licence.

As part of the next stage of its development, Radio Hartlepool had been looking at how it might replace and update the analogue equipment it had been using since it began broadcasting.

And now, after being nominated by Jason Anderson, a customer at Newcastle Building Society's York Road branch in Hartlepool and the programme director for Radio Hartlepool, a £2,100 grant has been provided by the Society to pay for a range of new multi-platform digital studio equipment.

The technical mixing desk with multiple microphones will enable the station to record and broadcast a greater quality and quantity of programmes and features.

The station management team is hoping to use it to provide broadcasting and production opportunities for at least a further dozen local people over the next six months.

The funding has been provided by the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation, which has been set up to provide grants to charities and community groups that are located in or around the communities served by the Society's branch network, and put forward for support by its customers.

Since its launch in 2016, the Fund has contributed over £142,000 in grants to projects across the Society's North East and Cumbria heartland, and is so far estimated to have had a positive impact on more than 77,000 people.

Radio Hartlepool has more than 107,000 audited listeners, with around 15,000 people regularly tuning in to its daily breakfast show, and raises its income from a mix of advertising, grants and donations.

The new equipment that the grant has paid for includes three PCs and specialist keyboards, a mixing desk, microphones, headphones, cabling and studio furniture.

Jason Anderson says: “Radio Hartlepool has been a real success over its first decade, and we have a strong team of volunteers that we're now hoping to see grow during 2018 as a result of this investment.

"The new equipment will benefit both our live and pre-recorded broadcasts, and will also allow us to recruit and train more volunteer presenters, which will then enhance the range and quality of the programmes we can produce.

"Our volunteers get excellent experience of what it's like to put together and broadcast radio programmes, and it helps them develop skills that are useful in working environments, whether in the media or elsewhere.

"We've long wanted to make the step from analogue to digital, but wouldn't have had the budget available to do so without Newcastle Building Society's generous support."

The Newcastle Building Society Community Fund is run in association with the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland. Grant applications for a maximum of £3,000 can be made in any Society branch or via the newcastle.co.uk website by customers who wish to support their local communities.

Michelle Sherwood, customer adviser at Newcastle Building Society's Hartlepool branch, adds: “Radio Hartlepool is a very valuable part of our community, and we know that many of our customers are also regular listeners to the station's output.

“Supporting our communities is central to the way we work, and we're looking forward to hearing more local voices on the air in the coming months."