The Story of Online Digital Radio Station - Radio Enham
Run by disabled people to empower disabled people
Radio Enham is a buzzing, thriving and growing personal development project at the disability charity Enham Trust.
This vibrant initiative is currently enabling 40 disabled people with complex needs to build their confidence and develop their communication, employment and general life skills.
"They can give information, advice and guidance on a level playing field. No one judges. All people hear is the voice."
- Rachelle Stevenson, Station Co-ordinator.
Radio Enham launched on 7th November 2011, part-funded by an 'Awards for All' grant from the Big Lottery Fund.
Former Enham Trust Chairman, Rod Chamberlain, was instrumental to getting the project off the ground. He was passionate about the radio station not only being a hugely effective and enjoyable development vehicle for clients, but also a platform for Enham Trust as a charity to tell the wider world about the things that matter to disabled people.
In the beginning, Radio Enham was only broadcast on the Enham Trust staff website, while participants got used to how to use the equipment and learned about how to produce a radio show.
One year on from the initial launch, Radio Enham went live on the Internet. The station now has listeners from all over the world!
"It gives us a wider voice and so much confidence. We use the radio to talk from one disabled person to another."
Lizzie Angus-Smith, Radio Enham Presenter.
Professionally installed, the station equipment is fully accessible with touch screens, dual control headphones, magnifier screens, adjustable height desks and adapted finger mouse keyboard controls to aid dexterity.
All of the team and the broadcasters now realise nothing is beyond their reach. As Radio Co-ordinator from the beginning, Rachelle Stevenson has watched them blossom and gain confidence - even joke about their disability on air.
The team hopes to reach a wide audience with ambitious plans for the comprehensive programme content you would expect from a radio station; topical interviews, music, travel, weather and entertainment.
They also plan to raise topics from a disabled person's point of view - from getting a blue badge to testing different wheelchairs to finding accessible holidays. The choice and control over the schedule is in their hands.
Some Enham Trust clients who once barely spoke, now talk confidently through a microphone.
"It's OUR voice to the wider world. I never imagined I could speak into a microphone."
- Radio Enham Presenter
Radio Enham boosts so many skills needed on the journey to greater independence. Since their involvement in the project, many participants have moved into their own homes and are living more independently, have found work placements or are attending mainstream college.
"Radio Enham is proving to be a pivotal path to independence at Enham". -
Rachelle Stevenson, Radio Co-ordinator
Radio Enham's cramped studio currently sits just off Enham Trust's main reception and it would be hard to miss the buzzing atmosphere and laughter when entering the Resource Centre building.
The project has been so successful that it will be moving to a new double studio in early 2015, which will enable many more of the disabled people Enham Trust work with to benefit from the opportunities the radio station offers.
We are all extremely grateful to the number of funders, principally charitable trusts, for enabling us to grow and develop this transformative project.