The importance of community media has been recognised in the New Year Honours. Mary Dowson, of Bradford Community Broadcasting, and Martin Parry, of Swindon Viewpoint were both awarded The British Empire Medal, a division of the MBE, which is granted in recognition of meritorious civil or military service worthy of recognition by the nation.
Martin Parry, one of the country’s longest-serving exponents of community media, has been honoured for services to the nation in the fields of Film, Media and Music, an accolade for work that includes rescuing and continuing to maintain Swindon Viewpoint, Britain’s longest surviving community television service, as well as for wider media archive work. Martin also served on the Council of the Community Media Association, the UK sector body for community media, where he helped to raise the status of community film and television.
Mary Dowson has been the Director of Bradford Community Broadcasting since 1997, steering the organisation to become the pioneering, full-time community radio station that it is today. For 10 years she also served on the Council of the Community Media Association with much of this time as Chair. During this time, Mary was instrumental in lobbying for the parliamentary legislation to provide a third sector of radio – community radio.
Martin Parry, who was surprised and pleased to receive the award, says:
“It’s heartening to see this national recognition of the value of community media work, and hopefully will contribute to our long journey raising awareness of the importance of the field”
Mary Dowson, agrees with the need for more recognition:
“It’s taken a very long time and indeed a lot of hard work and tenacity to get recognition for community media. Finally, it feels like our voices are starting to be heard and our contribution recognised. This award is testament to this and I accept it on behalf of all my colleagues at BCB and throughout the community media sector.”
Lucinda Guy, Chair of the Community Media Association (CMA) says:
“Our congratulations go to both Martin and Mary for these awards, which go some way towards recognising the huge amount of dedication, skill and care in their work. Both lead projects that are wonderful examples of community media at its best, where the worlds of media production and community development come together, resulting in positive transformation for their local areas and for those they support there.”
Both Martin and Mary continue to work closely with the CMA, sharing their extensive knowledge and experience with others in the community media sector around the UK.