14 February 2008
A community radio station, which started life as a summer project for young people, is officially unveiling its new home on Monday 11 February at the Newbridge Memo.
Voice FM is run by over 100 volunteers, who all play a part either behind the scenes or presenting shows over the internet.
The station was originally brought to life in the summer of 2006 by School Liaison Officer PC Dylan Jones, along with the support of Caerphilly County Borough Council.
It aimed to provide alternative activities for young people from Cwmcarn High School and Newbridge Comprehensive School over the holidays, helping to discourage crime and anti-social behaviour and encouraging young people to become involved in community life.
It broadcast for 28 days in 2006 via a Restricted Service Licence and for a further 28 days over the 2007 summer holidays.
Over the last year more volunteers from across the Caerphilly County Borough area have become involved and the station has been streaming 24 hours a day over the internet since February 2007.
The station's new home, which has been under renovation since January 2007, contains an on-air broadcasting studio, a production studio as well as IT and education facilities.
The station has received approximately £65,000 of funding from various sources such as the Community Plan Key Fund, the Beacon Fund, Safer Caerphilly Community Safety Partnership, Big Lottery Fund, Caerphilly Council's Youth Grant as well as the Risca Crime Prevention Panel.
The Assembly Minister for Children, Education, Life Long Learning and Skills, Jane Hutt will open the facility along with the Deputy Leader of Caerphilly County Borough Council and former young persons champion, Councillor Gerald Jones.
Jane Hutt AM said, "Voice FM is a fine example of what can be achieved when communities and young people work together in partnership. This station provides a great outlet for young people with an interest in music and communications and an opportunity to develop a wide range of new and transferrable skills.
"The Assembly Government has recently agreed £10m over three years to provide capital funding to develop and create high quality community facilities for young people. If projects are looking for examples of good practice, they need look no further than Voice FM."
PC Dylan Jones said, "Voice FM has gone from strength to strength with increasing numbers of young people becoming involved. Having facilities such as this available provides them with alternative activities to occupy their time in a positive manner, as well as teaching them transferable skills. The station broadcasts pop music, local news, events, community information as well as crime prevention advice."
"Initially the project was introduced during the summer holidays to discourage young people from becoming involved in anti-social behaviour. It gave them the opportunity to discuss these issues on air, whilst providing ideas for alternative activities young people could take part in to stay out of trouble. The individuals who have helped to develop Voice FM have shown tremendous initiative and dedication in running the station."
Deputy Leader of Caerphilly County Borough Council, Cllr Gerald Jones said, "I have been aware of the work of Voice FM for some time and I have been impressed by the commitment of those involved and by the effective way that young people have been engaged in this project.
"Projects like Voice FM give young people a role in their community and enables them to bring about positive change in their area. I believe that this kind of approach not only serves to build the confidence of the young people involved but also has a positive knock-on effect on the wider community."
Voice FM are looking for volunteers of any age (over the age of 11) to help run the station, especially during the day when young people are in school or college. You could either help out as a presenter or behind the scenes, whether producing items for broadcast or helping with administration. If you would like to become involved with Voice FM, please e-mail email@example.com or phone 01495 240030.
You can listen to Voice FM twenty-four hours a day via www.voicefm.co.uk
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