You can use the template letter below to write to your prospective parliamentary candidates to call for greater support from Government for community radio.
As of 6 November, MPs have lost their status and are now prospective parliamentary candidates campaigning alongside others for re-election.
According to Electoral Commission rules, nomination papers must be submitted by all prospective candidates before 4pm on the 19th working day before the election – in this case, that means Thursday 14 November.
A list of the candidates who are standing across all 650 constituencies will be published after this date – known as the ‘Statement of Persons Nominated’.
The candidates will be posted to all local authority websites and on notice boards in your area after the deadline for nominations has passed – around mid-November.
How to use the template letter
You can copy and paste the text below into an email. Or you can download a copy of the letter as a Word document here if you would prefer to send it as a letter. You may edit the letter as you see fit.
Send your message! And encourage your volunteers, supporters, friends and family to write to their prospective parliamentary candidates as well. The more people ask, the more attention we will get from politicians.
Let us know that you have taken action. Please let us know you have written to your prospective parliamentary candidate by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also let us know whether you would like to be involved in future policy and campaigning activity. VERY IMPORTANT: if you get a response to this letter then please let us know!
Dear [PROSPECTIVE PARLIAMENTARY CANDIDATE]
I am an [EMPLOYEE/VOLUNTEER/SUPPORTER] of [COMMUNITY RADIO STATION] and I am writing to urge you to commit to making a number of substantial improvements to the long-term sustainability of community radio stations throughout the UK if you are elected as my Member of Parliament.
The community radio sector has been incredibly successful since its inception around 15 years ago. It is a dynamic platform for social change in the UK. There are currently 288 community radio stations in the UK licensed and regulated by Ofcom. A condition of holding a community radio licence is that the station must be not-for-profit and must deliver positive social benefits such as providing employment or training opportunities and reaching to underserved communities. Training and volunteer inclusion help combat significant social challenges around mental well-being and social integration. Thus, the sector consistently makes an incalculable positive contribution to the social and diverse fabric of the UK. However, these achievements have been realised against the backdrop of economic decline that started in 2008.
The Community Radio Fund, established by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and administered by Ofcom, has remained static at £400,000 for many years whilst the number of potential beneficiaries has grown. This fund is distributed in the form of grants, following a formal application process, to support community radio stations in delivering their social gain commitments. The size of the Community Radio Fund is insufficient to meet the needs of the existing 288 community radio stations, many of which are just about managing to survive. Moreover, potentially many new community radio stations will be joining the new small-scale digital audio broadcasting (SSDAB) platform under the proposed C-DSP licence.
Ofcom’s 2019 Communications Market Report shows that average income for community radio stations has fallen for yet another consecutive year to circa £49,000. Average station income has consistently fallen year-on-year from £84,000 per station in 2008 (around £115,000 when adjusted for inflation) to £49,000 in 2018.
A substantial uplift in the Community Radio Fund is now required to ensure the continued success of the community radio sector to deliver tangible social benefits for those stations broadcasting on both analogue and digital. Community radio achieves a high level of social return for low levels of social investment but imagine what could be achieved with even a modest increase of public-funded support.
I therefore call on you to support the following three initiatives, should you be elected as my MP:
1. To call for a substantial increase in the Community Radio Fund to better meet the needs of current community radio stations and to support the new digital community radio stations to be licensed from next year.
2. To support a commitment from central and local Government to recognise that community radio is a low-cost and effective medium for reaching underserved communities and to direct a proportion of government advertising to community radio stations.
3. To commit to supporting a call to DCMS and Ofcom that community radio continues to be licensed on FM spectrum in parallel with the future rollout of licences on the new SSDAB platform.
I look forward to you confirming your support for community radio and for the three proposals listed above.