Community Radio Fund: award of grants for 2014/15 Round 2

Posted by & filed under Funding, Policy, Radio Industry.

Ofcom’s Community Radio Fund Panel met on Tuesday 13 January 2015 to consider applications in the second round of grant awards for 2014/15.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) confirmed the total of £393,000 for the Community Radio Fund for 2014/15. The amount spent in the first round of funding was £140,340.

In summary, at the meeting:

  • 39 applications for grants were considered
  • The total amount of funding requested in these applications was £603,717
  • 17 applicants were awarded grants which totalled £252,660
  • 22 applicants were not awarded a grant

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 to make a full award, a partial award or not to award any funding.

The average grant in this round was £14,862; the size of award ranged from £9,721 to £20,840. A table setting out the awards is at the end of this statement.

Issues of note arising from the Panel meeting

In the current financial climate the Panel felt strongly that, as much as possible, grants from the Community Radio Fund should help further a station’s financial stability and future sustainability. Therefore proposals for posts to promote long-term financial security and which could become self-sustaining were favoured by the Panel over applications for other support posts, even if they were considered by the applicants to be core station functions.

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

  • The Panel has a limited amount of funding available, and so it cannot make grants to all applicant stations.
  • The panel would like to emphasise the importance of section 2 of the application form which gives the panel members an insight into the station’s output and its target community. Applicants should also aim to quantify their impact, for example, by supplying numbers of volunteers, people trained, awards won etc.
  • With regard to roles specifically to raise funds for stations the Panel considers that as an absolute minimum the post holder should aim to raise the equivalent of their own salary in the course of the grant spend, as well as securing funding towards station costs. This makes the role self-sustaining and likely to continue once the grant has been spent. The Panel likes to see clear financial targets set for such posts. When a station reports back on how the grant was spent, the Panel would like to know how much money the postholder raised.
  • Applicants should explain how the role or project that is the subject of a grant application will contribute to the financial sustainability of the station.
  • Some applicants did not include sufficient information, job descriptions and/or work plans in their submissions for staff funding.
  • It is also important to provide up-to-date and accurate financial information. At the very minimum applicants should supply their most recent statutory accounts (or equivalent). In the application form the panel would also welcome a summary of income and expenditure for the current year (but excluding the Fund grant being applied for).
  • The panel would like to draw applicants’ attention to HMRC’s guidance on determining the employment status of workers, when they are preparing (and costing) job descriptions. (This has implications for the way tax and National Insurance contributions are calculated and whether or not PAYE (Pay As You Earn) is operated on their earnings.)

Summary of grants awarded in June 2014 (second round for 2014/15)

Station Location Purpose Award
Betar Bangla Radio East London Station Manager £19,200
Bradley Stoke Radio Bradley Stoke Business Development Manager £18,000
BRFM Brynmawr Fundraiser £15,000
Canalside’s The Thread 102.8 Bollington Fundraising Manager £16,000
Celtic Music Radio Glasgow Fundraising and Events Officer £10,000
Dunoon Community Radio Dunoon Sustainability and Development Officer £13,469
Eden FM Penrith Commercial and Business Development role £16,000
Gateway 97.8 Basildon Business Development /Fundraiser £15,600
Hermitage FM Coalville Finance & Administration Officer £16,692
IMAN FM Sheffield Station Marketing and Engagement Manager £16,940
Penistone FM Penistone Training and Fund Raising Manager £14,781
Pulse Community Radio Barrhead Business Development Manager £15,600
Radio Ikhlas Derby Communications and Fundraising Officer £9,721
SFM 106.9 Sittingbourne Station/Business Development Manager £15,600
Soundart Radio Totnes Artistic Director, Business Manager and Web Developer (three posts) £20,840
The Voice North Devon Technical and Projects Manager £10,428
Vibe 107.6 Watford Administration and Sales Support worker £8,789

Information for future applicants

The Panel considers promoting long-term sustainability a critical, core activity.

Applicants should try to quantify the impact of the post (for which they are applying for funding) on the future sustainability of the station.

The panel recognises that, in the current economic climate, grant funding has declined. The panel would therefore encourage innovative fundraising ideas which may offer future funding models for the community radio sector.

The Panel continues to believe there is scope for collaborative working or joint applications from stations, where appropriate.

Applications for the first round of funding in 2015/16

  • Applications will be invited on 8 April 2015 with a closing date of 5pm on Wednesday 6 May 2015.
  • The Panel will meet to make decisions on these applications in June 2015.


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