Banbury’s Radio Horton is in the final stages of transitioning to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, expanding its remit through the promotion of the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle, and the importance of maintaining good personal mental and physical health, in turn, helping reduce pressure on the NHS and is looking for new volunteers to support its direction.
The station, which has over fifty years of heritage under its belt is looking to fill volunteering vacancies in broadcasting, ward visiting, care home visiting as well as a number of administrative positions.
Chair, Sam Smette says: “These are exciting times for Banbury’s hospital radio. Like many organisations, Radio Horton has been hampered by the coronavirus pandemic over the last two years, and we have had to adapt and diversify our operations to continue to provide a valuable service to patients and care home residents in the community.”
“Our volunteers have not been able to visit the hospital wards at the Horton General Hospital since March 2020, though we have explored new opportunities with a number of local care homes. Training has also been an issue, as it has not been possible to train up new volunteers in the conventional way, due to social distancing restrictions.”, adds Sam.
Fortunately, the radio station’s team have found methods to overcome some of the challenges, and have recently began training budding new DJ’s on its studio equipment virtually, using Zoom and its screen-sharing tools.
Thanks to some grant funding from the Hospital Broadcasting Association (HBA), the national umbrella organisation which represents hospital radio across the UK, Radio Horton has been able to upgrade its equipment, including the installation of a new radio automation software, Jazler Soho, in addition to investing in portable recording equipment for volunteers can use to record interviews or features remotely. Going forward, the station is considering new technology such as Small-Scale DAB to expand its reach.
As Radio Horton looks towards the future, the organisation is looking for keen, enthusiastic volunteers to help it achieve its ambitions. No experience is required, and contrary to popular belief, there are more roles than the stereotypical image that comes to mind when thinking “hospital radio” – that which depicts a presenter talking into a microphone.
Sam enthuses: “As a charity, there is so much more behind-the-scenes work that goes into the running of a hospital, health and wellbeing radio service to keep the cogs whirring. It’s not just about the presenting and reporting.”
A key element of the service and a unique selling point for hospital, health and wellbeing radio, is the personal connection made between the listener and the ward visitor or care home visitor volunteers, offering a vital befriending service which helps to reduce social isolation and loneliness amongst patients and residents.
In the meantime, the radio station seeks volunteers from across a breadth of diverse skillsets and interests.
Sam continues: “If you enjoy meeting and talking to people, why not consider becoming a Ward Visitor or Care Home Visitor? The role can be highly rewarding and satisfying, but most importantly, comforting and reassuring to patients or residents.”
“We’re currently recruiting a new Care Home Coordinator to oversee delivery of our care home service, managing volunteers, and building relationships with care homes. Or perhaps you’ve got a background in fundraising, so the Fundraising Officer role may be of interest to you.”
“Often, we need people to lend a hand at our portfolio of community events and collections. We’re also searching for social media savvy volunteers or content creators, who can optimise our presence on social media and digital communication channels.”
The minimum age to join Radio Horton is 16. All member-volunteers may stand for election as a trustee at the organisation’s Annual General Meeting, appealing to anyone who has an interest or experience in charity governance and management.
Anyone wishing to get involved can find more details about the vacancies and how to apply on Radio Horton’s website – or enquire by email to [email protected]