SWINDON 105.5 - granted £4,670

Through its schedule of topical and engaging programmes Swindon’s Community Radio Station provides fulfilling experiences to its 100+ volunteers and the wider community. Collaboration with schools and Swindon’s Job Centre enable the station to provide work placements. Referrals and an open-door policy see it supporting the mental wellbeing of people with disabilities, those that have experienced trauma and anyone with a general interest in radio. Volunteers learn new skills and are supported to build their confidence and develop team working skills. At the heart of this is their commitment to inclusivity and a tag line of Daring to be Different.

“The station is like the body of a spider, with legs reaching out into the community” said Shirley Ludford, Station Manager and former BBC Wiltshire Sound presenter. “Our oldest Presenter is 80 and youngest are children who run their own weekly programme. Volunteers and trainees make contacts, develop friends and gain unique experiences. I believe learning is one part of the process, sharing that learning is another. We are totally inclusive and accessible”.

During lockdown, the Station has been able to continue most of its programmes and maintain contact with volunteers through technology and purchasing new equipment. This grant helps cover those costs as well as setting up a project to train a member of Swindon’s BAME community. Learning essential skills in radio production and presenting, the trainee is hosting a weekly programme, Mondays at 2pm, which includes a range of music styles and covers issues facing the BAME community, supporting them to find their voice. To learn more about the station or enquire about volunteering email info@swindon1055.com or telephone 01793 611555.

Tadpole Garden Village in Bloom – granted £500

Started in 2019 by residents of Swindon’s Tadpole Garden Village who wanted to enter the RHS Britain in Bloom competition, this group has become a key part of the local community.

Now joined by 25 neighbours (and many more on their Facebook page), the group run a host of activities. “All of our activities are design to encourage the community to take pride in where they live” said Pete Welsh, one of the group’s founding members. As well as their community allotment plot complete with greenhouse, they arrange:

• village litter picks

• seed donations and fundraising for The Veteran’s Growth charity 

• growing vegetables to provide to local homeless soup kitchens and flowers to give to nursing homes

• children’s stonework and gardening clubs

• health and wellbeing drop-in sessions

..to name a few! “We also host open days to sell our plants, the profits from which go into buying more compost and cover some of our running costs. It’s a sustainable way to bring the community together, make friends and take part in activities that help others”. 

This grant will go toward installing a reduced-mobility potting table on the site, as well as laying a path to make it more accessible.  

The group will be hosting an open day on Sunday 2 May at 09:30am. For more details visit their facebook page or Instagram @tgv_in_bloom.

IPSUM - granted £5,000

IPSUM (meaning ‘self’ in latin), provides support to more than 550 people every year in the Swindon area.

Using a combination of counselling and creative workshops, the charity supports people experiencing loneliness, isolation and a range of mental health needs, to build their self-esteem and confidence.

Run on a team of less than 6 and with 28 volunteer counsellors, they run a variety of workshops including:

• Karaoke sessions and rap music creating in its designated studio

• A weekly 50 minute programme on the Station, created by those who use the service

• Creative writing classes and therapy through art sessions

‘We found new ways to engage with people during lockdown’ said Julie Mattinson, the charity’s Director. ‘Delays on video calls meant that our music sessions became a bit problematic, but with a good sense of humour and an open mind they’ve been renamed ‘sticky jams’ and everyone enjoys them for their comedic value! Once we’re able to reopen our doors, we’ll be supporting people to slowly open up again. After so long in isolation, we want them to feel comfortable again around their peers.’ 

This grant will go toward supporting ISPUM to carry out these therapies and put the necessary provisions in place for when lockdown restrictions are eased.