Each month we’re celebrating some of the community champions we’ve supported in the region. Leeds and Bradford have a wealth of small charities, community and voluntary groups. We support these local organisations so they can keep making a difference to thousands of people every day.
This month we’ve caught up with Mary from Bradford Community Broadcasting (BCB), an accessible community radio station for the Bradford District, broadcasting a range of speech and music programmes that celebrate diversity in the city.
BCB recently received one of our Pears Youth Fund grants for your ‘I Am Perfect As Me’ project, can you tell us about the project?
Since the summer, we’ve been working with young people involved in the Speakers Corner Collective. This is a group of young people in Bradford who want to speak out and have their voice heard. We’ve held a series of radio workshops, giving young people the skills and the support that they need to now produce and present regular radio programmes on BCB Radio.
Subjects discussed on the programmes include mental health, bullying, body image, role of social media, education, managing exam pressures, fashion and style.
What difference has a grant from Leeds Community Foundation made?
It’s allowed us to really focus on working with this group of young people.
The inclusion of these young people in the life of BCB has really enriched the organisation in many ways, bringing the voice of modern young Bradford to the airwaves. We’re looking forward to including them in other programmes across the schedule, and possibly working with our Senior Moments team!
Why is this project needed?
Most of the participants are young Muslims, mostly from a Pakistani Heritage. There are very few places where young people are able to come together, talk freely, express themselves and discuss issues that are important to them.
This project has enabled the young people to come together and work in small programme teams to create radio programmes that are relevant to them and to their peers, reflecting their lived experiences as young people in Bradford 2018.
Another unexpected outcome has been the social space that the Saturday workshops has provided. As well as providing opportunity for training and recording the project has also given opportunity for young people to ‘hang out’ together which again is a very important part of the project for the participants.
The great thing about radio is that it is pretty anonymous which has enabled the young people to freely express themselves without fear, and breakdown some of the stereotypes surrounding young people.
What’s been the most rewarding moment?
Some of the young people from this project have joined in on other radio programmes made by young people who they have met at BCB. I think this has enriched the overall programme content.
The programmes they have made have all come form their own ideas of what’s important to them and they have been very open and honest in their discussions, which has led to very interesting and refreshing content. A very high level of trust has existed from the start between BCB staff and the young people – and amongst the project participants themselves.
A particular rewarding moment was the confidence amazing shown when Jasra and Mehmoona interviewed the Radio 1 DJ Gemma Cairney at the WOW Bradford festival in November!