Community Radio Fund: award of grants for 2011/12 Round 1

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Ofcom’s Community Radio Fund Panel met on Monday 13 June to consider applications for the first round of grant awards for 2011/12. In summary, at the time of the meeting:

  • The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has allocated £442,000 for the Community Radio Fund for 2011/12 (a further £20,000 was allocated by DCMS to other community radio projects)
  • 67 applications were considered
  • Funding applications totalled £1,143,410
  • 16 applicants were awarded grants which totalled £225,403
  • 51 applicants were not awarded a grant

First round of applications for funding in 2011/12

The Panel reviewed each application and awarded funding based on the information provided, and with reference to the Community Radio Fund guidance notes. The Panel’s decisions were for:

  • a full award;
  • a partial award; or
  • not to award any funding.

The average grant in this round was £14,088. A table setting out the awards is at the end of this statement.

Issues of note arising from the Panel meeting

With public funding being cut in many parts of the UK, the Panel feels strongly that, as much as possible, grants from the Community Radio Fund should help further a station’s financial stability and future sustainability. Therefore, even though the Panel does consider grants for community outreach or volunteer support posts, for example, (and the Panel recognises these are core station functions) it favours, as stated in our guidance notes, applications focusing on posts that will promote long-term financial sustainability.

With regard to the applications the Panel considered in this funding round, it would like to make the following points:

  • A grant from the Fund for new stations is not a foregone conclusion, and applicants need to make their case sufficiently well for the Panel to be confident that a grant will be well-spent, and enhance the future viability and sustainability of the station.
  • The Panel would like to remind applicants to take due note of the published guidance as well as the guidelines included within the application form when completing applications. Some applications in this round sought funding for items that the panel considered ineligible. This included, for example, applications for equipment costs, publicity costs, website costs and funding for journalists. The Panel would like to remind applicants to have regard to the list of exclusions that the Fund will not support. This is listed in Annex A of the Community Radio Fund Guidance Notes.
  • Some applicants did not include job descriptions and/or work plans in their submissions for staff funding (question four of the grant application specifies that this is a requirement). This information is important to the Panel in order to consider whether the job description of the post to be filled corresponds with the outline description given in an application, or alternatively that the work plan for the post-holder matches the work priorities outlined in the Fund application.
  • With regard to roles intending to raise funds for stations, such as fundraiser and business development roles, the Panel considers that grants for roles such as these can be deemed a success if the post holder is able to raise, as a minimum, the equivalent of their own salary in the course of the grant spend and in so doing making the role sustainable and likely to continue once the grant has been spent.
  • Lastly, the Panel would like to emphasise to previous grant recipients the importance of good quality feedback on previous grant spends and that this information will be taken into account in the decision-making process (question twelve of the grant application, and separately in the grant report form). For example, for posts that included fundraising the Panel would like to know how much money the post-holder raised.

Priorities

The Panel will continue to prioritise making grants to newly-licensed stations and to funding core activities and those which will improve the sustainability of a station. The Panel considers promoting long-term sustainability a critical, core activity, and will take special note of novel proposals that have this aim, such as those focusing on fund-raising and business development. The Panel also continues to believe there is scope for collaborative working or joint applications from stations.

Applications for the second round of funding in 2011/12

A total of £216,597 remains in the Fund for the financial year 2011/12. Applications for the second round will be invited on 19 October 2011, with a closing date four weeks later at 5pm on 16 November 2011. Decisions will be made at the next Panel meeting on 30 January 2012.

The Panel will give priority to those applicants who have not received funding in previous years. However, the Panel would urge all applicants to take note of the remarks outlined above.

Summary of grants awarded in the first round for 2011/12

Station Location Purpose Amount
10Radio Wiveliscombe Business Generator (p/t) £15,000
Alive Radio Dumfries Business Development Manager/Station Coordinator £15,000
Amber Sound FM Ripley Financial Management £5,500
BRFM (Bridge Radio) Isle of Sheppey Fundraiser & Business Development Officer £12,300
Cambridge105 Cambridge Fundraising Manager £15,000
Celtic Music Radio Glasgow Sales & Fundraising Executive £12,000
Cheshire FM Winsford Fundraiser & Marketing Officer £16,125
Hermitage FM Coalville Business Development Officer £15,950
In2beats Bedford Funding Coordinator £14,976
Lionheart Radio Alnwick Business Development Manager (p/t) £14,938
New Style Radio 98.7FM Birmingham Project Manager (six month period) £12,000
Peace FM Manchester Station/Business Manager (p/t) £15,526
Redroad FM Sheffield Business Development Manager (p/t) £16,088
TCR FM Tamworth Funding & Development Officer £15,000
The Park Lymington Business Development Manager £15,000
Wythenshawe FM Manchester Station Manager (part-fund) £15,000

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