Building 'wellbeing' at community level in the north west


Building ‘wellbeing’ at community level in the North West.





CQEC Journal 2016-17


Published by SeaQuake Books

Copyright 2016. Individual contributors.

Shakespir Edition, License Notes.




CQEC Journal is a collection of writings compiled by the Centre for Quality in Education and the Community and published by SeaQuake Books.

Hard copies are available from CQEC or downloadable at- cqecmanagement.blogspot.com or SeaQuake Books, online. Email: [email protected]

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Publisher contact: [email protected]





This issue-


Community Cinema and Community Arts programmes.


Community based charity work.


Resourcing ‘wellbeing’ in the community.


A contemporary arts network at the centre of a local arts community.


Business success through developing community links.


Success in community radio.





The Centre for Quality in Education and the Community is a management development organisation working in the Public, Private and Voluntary sectors. The Centre was established in 1998 to support Educational, Business and Community Development in Central Liverpool.


CQEC has a number of clear strategic themes which attract wide partnership support.


-Sound organisational and educational processes are at the heart of any business or community development.


-Organisations should respect and involve the constituencies in which they work- including their clients, staff, suppliers, tradesmen and neighbours.


-Success should be identified and celebrated.


-Development and regeneration requires team-work. In a Local Authority this will be multi agency and cross-sector.


As a Research and Development Agency, CQEC produces an educational journal and promotes good practice in four key areas of organisational life-


-Leadership and Management. We support strong, critical and supportive Governance at Board level and highly effective strategic and operational planning and delivery by managers.


-Professional development. We support organisational restructuring, work evaluation, the creation of professional profiles, the management and maintenance of systems and the promotion of personal responsibility for development.


-Recognising and rewarding success. We work with organisations to highlight significant achievement, to identify good practice from inspection and audit reports, and to reward the achievement of customised performance standards.


-Developing community resources. We assist in the establishment of Charitable Trusts, the closure of redundant Trusts, the identification of sponsors, marketing strategies, grant applications and the recognition of those making a qualitative contribution to their communities.













In this issue-


Christine Physik, Arts Director at The Plaza Cinema in Waterloo, Sefton, explains the remarkable background to the cinema’s survival and outlines the innovative community programmes through which The Plaza can uniquely claim to be a charity providing essential community support through a cinema.


Enda Rylands, General Manager of The Ramada Plaza Hotel, Southport, Merseyside, chairs Southport’s Business Improvement District. He also chairs Southport’s Business Tourism Steering Group, sits on the Board of ‘England’s Golf Coast’ and on the Visitor Economy Board for Liverpool City Region. Here he outlines the development of The Community Link Foundation, a highly successful community based charity with some unique characteristics.


Alan Potter, Co-Founder Long Life Learning Ltd., argues for the positive effects of learning for those in later life and for the wellbeing of society as a whole. He outlines the incontrovertible research based evidence for this position and details the diminution in resourcing levels over recent years. He recognises the contribution of ‘self help’ groups, such as U3A but cautions that provision can only be truly effective if it is open to all, available locally, free at the point of access and of high quality.


Norrie Beswick – Calvert, a Director and a founding member of Southport Contemporary Arts, on Merseyside, describes the formation, development and future plans of this remarkably successful and influential community arts organisation. She pays tribute to the contribution of the many creative members of SCA and their supporters and her article provides an effective case study in the importance of a strong vision and clearly stated aims in organisational success.


Bob Stone, Director of Write Blend, an independent bookshop in Waterloo, South Sefton, Merseyside, with the motto ‘Coffee For Book Lovers and Books for Coffee Lovers’, provides a text book example of determination and success for book retailers struggling to survive in an extremely challenging economic climate for their industry. His ‘recipe for success’ involves not only a wide range of literary and general arts activities but strong engagement with the local comunity and working in partnership local media.


Dave Walker, writer, playwright, actor and broadcaster outlines the requirements for any group wishing to apply to run community radio and describes the format of a recently successful station, Sandgrounder FM, and the strength of the station’s commitment to local business and the community at large.






The CQEC Journal supports reflective practice and action research. It is aimed at policy makers on a local and national level. These include- the Leaders, Chief Executives and Senior Officers on local councils, regional governmental officers, local MPs, relevant ministerial departments and the office of the Prime Minister.


This 2016-17 Journal is devoted to examples of building well-being at a community level in the North West of England. The articles all detail business success and effective community engagement.


It is clear, from the contributions, that in the economic climate of 2016- with diminishing resources at a local authority level, funding cuts to the Arts and to non statutory educational provision and with intense competition from both internet and corporate traders- small businesses and charities need to find their unique selling point as a serious matter of economic survival. In the examples we have here all the organisations have identified their position in the local community, and a reciprocal relationship with that community, as central to their success. Perhaps it is because they are all seeking a relationship of genuine mutual benefit that they so successfully involve otherwise excluded or marginalised groups- the elderly, Alzheimer's sufferers, the unemployed, young people on the autistic spectrum, the disaffected.


The benefits to the well-being of individuals and communities from this inclusive approach to conducting business are significant. There is engagement rather than disengagement, the opportunity for all to be involved in a more meaningful and creative life and the benefit of targeted fundraising addressing identified local needs.


Underpinning all of the above, we see sound leadership and management in all our case studies and, crucially, a vision that it is possible to, not only run a successful small enterprise, but also make a difference to the local community.


The Journal has provided a snapshot of activity in the North West of England and we are grateful to the individual contributors.


If you wish to comment on the Journal, communicate with any of the contributors, order further copies or discuss a future contribution, you will find publisher contact details above.


Phil McNulty








[+ Running a successful Community Cinema and Community Arts programme- 'The Plaza'. +]

Christine Physik




The Plaza opened as a cinema on 2nd September 1939, the day war broke out, and became famous locally as the picture house that opened and closed on the same day. Luckily, it was able to re-open again two weeks later and has remained a working cinema ever since.

Up until 1960 the Plaza was just one of twenty picture houses within a three mile radius of Waterloo, Liverpool, in the North West of England, indicating the huge social and cultural importance of cinema to ordinary people. As television sets became affordable and other forms of leisure and entertainment became available the cinema going habit started to fade causing many of these iconic picture houses to close down during the seventies and eighties.


The Plaza is now the only remaining cinema left in South Sefton. In 1997, the cinema also came under threat of closure and almost certain demolition until a thirteen year old boy, Paul Culshaw, wrote to the local paper, The Crosby Herald, questioning what would happen to young people if the cinema closed. This letter was read by Jan Dunn, a cinema enthusiast, who was able to motivate a group of people and lead the campaign to save the cinema. Within a six week timeframe they approached the council with a 10,000 name petition seeking support for the retention of the cinema on Crosby Road North for the benefit of local people. SMBC (Sefton) were supportive of the campaign and assisted with funding. The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation also came to the rescue and, along with support from composer Carl Davies and the success of their community fundraising campaigns the local group were able to re-open the Plaza as a community Cinema in July 1997.


Now registered as a charity, the cinema is run by 5 key members of staff assisted by over 70 volunteers, ranging in age from 14 – 76, headed by Jan Dunn as chair of trustees. Additional support for the running of the Plaza is provided by the cinema support shop located on South Road, Waterloo. The shop, staffed entirely by volunteers has been operating for 19 years. All proceeds from donated items are ploughed straight back into the cinema.


Throughout the last 18 years the story of the Plaza can be summed up in the following ways- the desire to provide a cinema experience at an affordable cost for families, the need to improve and upgrade facilities and the development of a centre for creative and educational opportunities, via film, for disadvantaged youth and older people in the community.




The Plaza operates an open door policy, enabling members of the community to get involved, via volunteering, to carry out numerous roles ranging from ushering through to membership of the Board of Trustees.


As part of their commitment to the volunteers they operate a training programme that equips the volunteers with essential work orientated skills including time keeping, customer care, handling cash, ushering, stock control and safeguarding training. The Plaza finds this supportive environment increases the confidence of the volunteer workforce and has helped ease many of them into paid employment.


The cinema is managed on two levels. There is an elected Board of Trustees, consisting of seven members with expertise in the following areas; Business and Finance, HR, Arts Management and Marketing. The trustees have overall responsibility for the running and management of the organisation.


The second tier of management includes the Cinema Manager who is tasked with programming film, management of staff and volunteers on the operational wing of the charity whilst the Arts Director is responsible for development and delivery of the Arts and Education programme, managing funding budgets, employment of freelance creative practitioners as well as volunteers and members of the arts and education team.




In 1997 the community inherited a beautiful art deco building in a neglected condition resulting from lack of investment over several decades. Staff, volunteers and trustees have made it a priority to restore the building to its original appearance and upgrade facilities to improve the experience for those attending.


Improvements to the structure and fabric of the Plaza have been intermittent due to the costs and the strain of constant fundraising. In 2009 the boiler burst, and for the first time the cinema was faced with potential closure. However, following a successful bid to the Carbon Trust the Plaza trustees were able to install an environmentally friendly heating system that has helped reduce running costs whilst keeping the whole building warm.


In 2007 Plaza made a successful application to The People’s Millions and received an award of £50,000. This enabled the Plaza to refresh the external appearance of the building by renewing the canopy and adding neon lighting to embellish several architectural features. These cosmetic changes enhanced the presence on the main road and increased the footfall of visitors to the cinema.


Three years later The Plaza was approached by TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More) a group of skilled tradesmen who kindly gave their time and donated some materials to renovate the foyer floor and install a new kiosk as well as painting each of the three screen areas.


This was the catalyst needed to attract new audiences into the cinema and increase revenues through ticket sales. Since 2011 the cinema has undergone a tremendous transformation, driven by ongoing community fundraising and increased ticket revenues. They have been able to upgrade to digital projection units, install brand new seating in each of the three screens and introduce dramatic new LED lighting to the auditorium and foyer areas. In December 2014 they recorded the 100,000th visitor to the cinema that year.


The ethos of community engagement coupled with an excellent cinematic experience, presented at affordable prices, has placed cinema at the heart of social and cultural importance for ordinary people.




The Plaza aims to ‘inspire, educate and entertain through film.’ The objectives are:


•To advance the education of the public in the knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the arts, in particular the art of film.

•To utilise the unique potential of film as an educational medium.

•To benefit the residents of South Sefton and surrounding areas by the provision of recreational and leisure time facilities in the interests of social welfare and with the object of improving their conditions of life.


Plaza does this through a menu that reflects the interests of the whole community.


Reflecting the needs of the locality they hold weekend family matinee screenings where all seats are priced at £2.60. This enables hard pressed families to watch a film together, buy refreshments and still have change from a £20 note. Plaza repeat the same offer each Wednesday, when all seats to all films are priced at £2.60.


Every Thursday Plaza provide a weekly social club for the over 60’s. At a reduced entry fee older members of the community can meet and make new friends, take part in a game of prize bingo, watch a current film and enjoy free tea, coffee and biscuits.


They also host a monthly Autism/Disability Friendly Film Screening that enables young people on the autism spectrum and their families to enjoy a leisure opportunity that most families take for granted.


Plaza are also able to provide an innovative and inclusive arts and education programme that works directly with all sections of the community:


PLAZA ARTS: Arts workshops and film and media projects led by creative practitioners. All activities are fully inclusive and accessed during the school holidays by mainstream youth and their peers with additional needs.


FILM IN FOCUS: Enables young people not in employment, education or training to use film to explore issues via discussion, creative writing, music and visual arts.


ORAL HISTORY PROJECTS: Bring together different generations to share stories, learn more of our cultural heritage and foster community cohesion.


SHORT FILMING AND EDITING PROJECTS: Bring together different generations from the community to make their own narrative and documentary films.


All community films made as part of the arts and education programme are given a public premiere screening at the Plaza.




The Plaza’s main catchment area is South Sefton, including Waterloo, Crosby, Bootle, Litherland and Seaforth. They also include Formby and Southport in the north end of the borough. Sefton is often described as a borough of two halves, each area has its own identity and faces its own issues.


Sefton South is situated in the Bootle constituency. Plaza's main work takes place with youth and older people from the wards of Linacre, Litherland and Ford all three are listed in the government’s top 1% Multiple Deprivation Index. Within this area 50% of children and young people are classed as living in poverty, compared with 23% across the North West region. In this part of the Borough 6 out of 10 of households are without access to a vehicle, thus creating a situation where young people face cultural and social isolation.


The North end of the Borough is regarded as more affluent, but equally has two wards listed in the government’s own Multiple Deprivation Index. Since the Plaza implemented a fully integrated arts and education programme they have started to attract youth from North Sefton to access creative projects.


The issues faced by most of the young people are linked to disaffection, educational underachievement and irregular attendance at school. The second disadvantage for youth relates to those with additional needs. Conversations with parents and the Local Authority revealed that social and educational activities are geared towards those with higher level support needs. To ensure they meet the needs of this marginalised group Plaza take referrals from Sefton Council’s Aiming High Team and the SMBC Inclusion Team.


The intention through the arts and education programme is to develop, in partnership with young people, a series of fully integrated projects that bring together those with ADHD, learning difficulties and youth on the autism spectrum with their mainstream peers.


Additionally, these activities are offered free of charge so that no-one is denied access on grounds of cost. Plaza will also supply food and drinks for project participants. They feel this helps them to relax over an informal lunch, builds trust and helps form friendships as well as foster an appreciation of difference.


The Plaza have been running integrated film and creative media projects for three years, and have found this approach to be very successful. Film is a great tool for engaging youth in learning. It helps them develop new skills, raises self esteem and increases their motivation to follow a project through to its conclusion.



Listed below are some of the benefits associated with an integrated approach:


• Through working with a mixed cohort, young people gain an understanding of difference.

• Integrated projects provide opportunities for marginalised youth in specialist education to meet and mix with their peers.

• Film enables youth to explore serious issues in an enjoyable, relaxing and safe environment.

• Through a public screening and showcase event young people have the chance to reach a wider audience, have their voice heard and gain recognition for their achievements.


Parents have noticed big changes in their sons and daughters after their involvement in the Plaza’s creative activities. Below is a sample of their comments:


•‘I can’t thank you enough – I have seen my daughter’s confidence grow steadily each and every day! You have worked wonders with her and your course has done everything for her that I prayed it would.’


•‘Every day she has come home bubbling over telling us all about it – All the new and exciting things she has experienced each and every day. Such a precious and wonderful opportunity.’


•‘My son has gone back to school with a whole new perspective and confidence – your course has given him much more than we could have hoped.’


The Plaza is, as far as they are aware, the only charity to provide essential community support through a cinema.




The Plaza has come a long way since 1997. Costs have been reduced to a bare minimum thanks to the commitment of the volunteer workforce. Improvements to the facilities have attracted more visitors which in turn improves financial stability, but Plaza’s income level still tends to fluctuate due to quality of film releases and external factors such as the weather.


They are, therefore, still dependent upon support from the community and external funding streams such as awards, both large and small from grants and trust funds. Successful applications for funding the arts and education programme include The Heritage Lottery, Children in Need, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Young Roots, John Moores Foundation, PH Holt Foundation, Peel Ports as well as Southport Rotary Club and South Sefton Rotary Club. Additionally, throughout the year the Plaza hosts many special events to help increase revenue streams, improve the facilities and to ensure the arts and education programme can be delivered free of charge to all participants.


Last year Plaza celebrated the 75th anniversary of the cinema. Sadly, many of the current staff and volunteers will not be around for the next 75 years, but there is a confidence that the Plaza as a unique community resource has a special place in the hearts of people locally and will continue to provide creative and cultural opportunities for future generations to enjoy.









[+ The development and operation of Community Link Foundation- a positive example of a small, community focussed, charity. +]

Enda Rylands


The Community Link Foundation is a charity based in Southport, Merseyside, in the North West of England. Both in its development and operation it demonstrates the characteristics of a successful, small, community based charity.




David Barron, Managing Director of Barron Financial Solutions Ltd., based in Southport, had a long and successful background in charitable fundraising before developing the concept of The Community Link Foundation.


His involvement with ‘Claire House Children’s Hospice’, situated in Bebington, on the Wirral Peninsular in Merseyside, began when he promised to attempt to raise £100,000 for the children’s charity. The main platform for this fundraising was a series of high profile ‘black tie’ social events. The first ‘Glitter Ball’, in 2003 raised an astonishing £27,000 and by 2008 the annual events had raised in excess of £140,000. David Barron had far exceeded the target he had set himself ‘but simply carried on’. By time of the final fundraising ball, in December 2012, he had raised more than £213,000. An astonishing achievement.




He developed the view that there may be value in moving away from a single focus vision for charitable work, to one based more broadly in the local community and thus providing support for a range of individuals and organisations, with their specific needs.


This was rooted in a belief in the importance of businesses giving something back to the community in which they are based, which provides their livelihood and which enables them to employ the staff that they do.


Ultimately, such a charity could influence the issues and needs within the local area, assist people to organise their philanthropy and charitable giving and help to build a stronger community.



Initial sponsors.


The Community Link Foundation initiative was launched at a local restaurant to which one hundred and twenty local business people were invited. This went far beyond sharing an idea and motivating the business community in that, at the launch, Mr Barron gave the opportunity for twenty businesses to sponsor the project at £500 a time, encouraged attendees to sign up to a menu of six forthcoming fundraising events and invited interest in trusteeship on the shadow board.


This was a remarkably, fast paced, assertive, organisational challenge and was a huge success. After the launch event the whole outline structure was in place to move ahead in developing the new charity.


Shadow Board.


As a result of the launch event, a shadow board was created drawing together an appropriate blend of different talents- those with social and organisational skills, previous board experience and with accounting and legal qualifications.


The Constitution.


Establishing a constitution was challenging and demanding and the Shadow Board took the lead here. The Shadow Board met every Wednesday for six months until they had achieved an appropriate constitution and, crucially, the charitable status, upon which the future of the foundation depended. In the process a Substantive Board was formed with each member being voted into position.


Objectives of the new charity.


‘To support the people and organisations within our community, and invest in the people who live in it, so that we can be proud of where we live.’





Target groups.


The work of The Foundation is now defined by the clear principle of enhancing the lives of individuals and groups, who need help, in any of the communities within the area of benefit. This includes a positive commitment to recognising the smaller local communities within the wider Southport area including Southport, Formby, Ormskirk, Ainsdale, Burscough, Hesketh Bank, Rufford and Banks.


Fundraising activities.


The Foundation is fortunate to be supported by a number of local, regional and national organisations who not only raise money for them but volunteer at their events and help to publicise their work. The Foundation has been nominated as 'a chosen charity' by a host of such organisations, including- Merseyrail, Santander, Churchtown Primary School, Southport Flower Show, Southport Fashion Show and Southport Comedy Festival.


The Foundation raises funds through Gala Nights and Dinners, such as the Dinner Dance Night with Atomic Kitten, through the 600 Club (which pays out £1500 each month in prizes) and through attracting sponsorship.


The Foundation is also involved as a fundraising organisation with a series of major local events including The Liverpool International Tennis Tournament, The Southport Flower Show and The Southport Comedy Festival.


An unusual dimension to the work of The Foundation is that they encourage many many individuals and groups to raise money on their behalf, which they can then put to good use in the community. They go beyond encouragement and provide all the necessary support to groups wishing to raise money for local causes. They have, for example, included local young people through addressing school assemblies and giving support to school based projects, thus encouraging school based fund raising and a healthy spirit of charitable work amongst the young.


The Foundation provides all the practical and organisational support needed for any groups across the area to fundraise under the CLF banner either for The Foundation or directly for causes such as ‘Foodbank’.


Support provided by The Community link Foundation.


The support given by The Foundation has been either to groups such as-


•The Southport Soup Kitchen,


•Phoenix Football Club,


•Southport and Formby Disability Athletics Club,


•Autism Initiatives,


•Southport Foodbank,


•Community Associations like Woodvale and Ainsdale ,


•Formby Luncheon Club,


•The Learning Rooms,


•The ADHD Foundation.


Or, to individuals in respect of their specific needs for-


•sensory equipment,


•specialist computer equipment,


•a specialist wheelchair,


•assistance towards special trip costs.


•a specialist bed and pram,


•assistance towards the costs of a mini-bus,


•assistance with fundraising costs.


Further examples include-


Natwest Bank staff assisting in a supermarket collection to help a young child with Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder.


The Foundation assisting in the purchase of a ‘side by side’ tandem for a Down’s Syndrome child and her parents.


The Formby Council for Voluntary Services gaining assistance to refurbish the forecourt of the Formby Luncheon Club, which has over 130 members.


The Foundation assisting with the set up costs for a drop-in after school club for the ADHD Foundation.


CLF supporting The Divine Days Community Arts Project which, in particular, runs a dance group where all the dancers have additional needs or a disability.


The Foundation supporting a Rugby World Record attempt in aid of a young patient at Alder Hey Hospital suffering from Cystic Fibrosis. Funds were raised for a physiotherapy vest with additional monies being donated to Alder Hey.







The grant application process.


Individuals and groups can download the application criteria and forms from the Foundation’s website and return to the organisation by email or post.


The Foundation Board meets three monthly unless circumstances dictate otherwise. One Board member collates grant applications and distributes them by email, prior to meetings, and approval is a full Board decision.


The future.


Staffing- An increasing burden of administration falls to the Chairman and to the Board and, having trialled other staffing options, the decision has been made to engage staff for one day a week for Public Relations and one day a month for Finance. A need has also been identified for a fundraiser to spread the word beyond those already on the Board or committed to being ‘ambassadors’.


Funding- The Foundation will be seeking further grant applications to follow the very successful Merseyrail and Santander bids. They will also be encouraging more potential beneficiaries to make incoming applications for grant funding as individuals and groups.


Structure- In relation to the structure of the Foundation, the decision to encourage and support individuals and groups in charitable fundraising has been a radical and a successful move. The Community Link Foundation provides substantial support to groups wishing to organise their own events and provide a framework, a status and a focus for charitable fund raising. This initiative will continue and will be expanded. The intention, then, is to organise no more than three major Foundation run events annually and to focus on the 600 club and to providing guidance and support for groups fundraising under the CLF banner.




The Community Link Foundation has achieved an unparalleled level of success in a remarkably short period of time- merely three years. Without a doubt the key factors here have been around clarity of vision, organisational effectiveness, garnering widespread support and the dedication and hard work of the founder and successive Board members. In many, many, respects the Foundation is a model charity from which others could usefully learn lessons.














The Cost of Learning and Not Learning in Later Life.

Alan Potter


  • Introduction*


The profile of the world’s population is changing and, quite simply, the world is getting older. Due to declining mortality levels, general improvements in population health, and the decline in birth rates, the world is seeing unprecedented numbers of older people both in terms of actual numbers and percentages of populations.


However, this is more than simply a demographic phenomenon as there are enormous implications for societies across the globe. Ageing brings with it negative changes in biological, social and psychological aspects of life alongside, for many, systemic changes such as retirement and the lessening of family contact. For some it will also involve making use of a variety of care services and for a large percentage of older persons, whatever their age or health, brings a decline in their independent status.


Population Projections


Earlier population projections by the United Nations indicated that the number of people aged 60 years and over is expected to almost triple in the next 40 years (up to 2050) from 737 million to two billion. The more recent United Nations projections (2013) now indicate that that figure will become three billion by the end of the century (2100). Whereas in 2009, 11 percent of the world’s population was aged 60 years or over by 2050, it is projected that this figure will rise sharply to 22 percent of the world’s population.


In regional terms, developing countries will experience the steepest increases in older populations in terms of numbers but it will be in Europe where the greatest percentages will reside. This United Nations (2013) report goes on to project that by 2100 the rise will be from 22% (2009) to over 40% of the population being aged 60 years or above in some countries such as Spain, Italy and Germany. Here in the United Kingdom, according to the most recent statistical release by the Office of National Statistics (2013), the number of people currently aged 65 or more is already over 10 million and is also increasing. In fact, the number of people over the age of 80 is predicted to be up to 3 million by 2021.


The Cost of Ageing


These are levels never previously seen. Increasing numbers of this older section of the community will rely on support from social or medical services, which will be a significant pressure on the country’s finances and workforce. According to the Department for Education and Employment (now the Department of Education) in its commissioned report (2000), the costs of long-term care of elderly people, already £11 billion in 1995, will be at least £25.9 billion by 2021.


The Role of Learning


It is timely, therefore, as well as important, to consider factors such as learning, which can enhance the lives of these greater numbers of people experiencing later life. There is empirical evidence of the positive impact adult learning has on improving mental health (Field 2009) while the recent government sponsored research inquiry into the future for lifelong learning (Schuller and Watson, 2009, p.21) makes a compelling case for the benefits of learning concluding that it ’makes a major contribution to sustaining economic and social well-being, to enabling people to understand, adapt to and shape change and to promoting social justice’.


The 3rd Age and the 4th Age


It is becoming increasingly difficult to define later life. In the past it was often seen as the ‘post-work’ stage but the age at which people are actually leaving the workforce depends on a number of factors such as health status, redundancy, voluntary severance, moves to self-employment or caring duties, often for elderly parents or relatives. In addition, the raising of the state pension age to 65 for women in 2010 and for both sexes up to 68 by 2026-28 (predicted to rise by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to 70 by the 2060s in the UK) paints a more complex picture. Nevertheless, the post-work age will still be lengthy due to longevity.


The majority of this increasingly aged population will not need severe, 4th age, levels of care but will nevertheless gradually lean more heavily on family, friends or charities as increased numbers suffer from the onset of dementia and other ailments prevalent in old age (Jarvis, 2001).Therefore, it is important to help people to remain purposeful, increase their activity, improve their health and promote their wellbeing so that as the population ages, there is less reliance on health services, on care services or on either prescribed drugs or recreational drugs such as alcohol. Learning has a key part to play. Indeed some doctors in north-east London are prescribing education courses instead of drugs to patients suffering from anxiety, depression or sleep disorders (Nash 2015).


Participation in later life learning


Within this context there is an imperative to develop strategies that are both compassionate and cost-effective in order to contribute to sustained health and wellbeing amongst our older members of the population. Learning in later life has been advocated as a means for supporting independence, developing skills, and enhancing cognitive wellbeing (Glendenning & Battersby, 1990). According to a recent NIACE survey(2012, p. 32) of older people’s learning, such opportunities are indeed being taken up by a significant portion of the elderly population. Surveying those age 50 years or older, the report indicates that one older person in five reports being involved in some form of learning (a figure static since the previous survey in 2005). However, the report, based on self-perceptions, also indicates that 80% of older people do not perceive themselves to be involved in learning.


Adult Education


The education of adults has, in fact, been part of the national conscience over many years. The 1944 Education Act set the scene for educational development and established both the inclusion and importance of education for adults. Specifically, it charged each local education authority to ‘secure that the facilities for … further education provided for their area includes adequate facilities for recreation and social and physical training …’ (Boshier 2006). One important publication seeming to realise this vision in a modern context was the Carnegie Report of Learning in the Third Age (1993) which proposed that older learners should be a component of policy on lifelong learning and proposed not only separate educational provision but that all general learning programmes should not ignore the needs of older adults.


Current position


As learning is now accepted as one of a number of elements alongside exercise, diet and socialising which improve cognitive wellbeing (Strauch, 2010), then the local and national policies that determine its provision and take-up become even more important processes. However, opportunities have reduced for such activity in social settings; there are fewer social clubs, less adult education providers and even the number of libraries is reducing. At the same time, the government had moved away from offering grants for courses that do not lead to accreditation, focus on basic skills or meet the needs of cohorts such as non-English speakers.


In 2007, NIACE estimated that a million adults had disappeared from publically funded adult learning since 2005 with the greatest loss being in the numbers of people over the age of 65. Therefore, there is an urgent need to ensure where learners do become engaged, they are engaged in truly effective learning opportunities embodying the elements of quality identified by both participants themselves and those researching into the benefits of learning in later life.




Such changes to the way in which adult education is funded by the government, has led to reductions in provider budgets. As a consequence, there are fewer courses available, they carry higher fees and have fewer local centres to work out of. As a result, even active learners are having their options narrowed and learning remains on the fringes of their lives. This situation is outlined in stark relief by the recent enquiry into the future of lifelong Learning (IFLL) culminating in the Learning Through Life Report (Schuller and Watson 2009). The enquiry was informed by studies of lifelong learning expenditure and participation. What it found was a system heavily weighted in favour of young, full-time students.


In raw terms, for every £55 spent on adult learning in the UK, approximately £47.00 goes towards learning for people in the 18–24 years old age bracket and £6.00 goes towards learning for people aged 25–49. However, only £1.00 goes towards learning for people 50–74 years old with £0.29p going towards learning for people 75 years old and older. The imbalance in both the aggregate and the per capita figures is dramatic. It is evident that unless structures and processes are put in place for the adults leaving full-time work, or engaged in other all consuming obligations such as caring for children, grandchildren or older adults, only those with the financial means or a wish to join accredited courses will be able to participate.


University of the 3rdAge (U3A)


There are many examples of well-established policy and practices within later life learning. However, these, together with research in this area, focus on the range, cost and accessibility of provision. Bodies such as the University of the Third Age (U3A), have over 320,000 members in the UK. It is a self-help organisation, for people no longer in full time employment, providing educational, creative and leisure opportunities in a friendly environment. It consists of 915 local U3As all over the UK, which are charities in their own right and are run entirely by volunteers.


Local U3As are learning cooperatives, which draw upon the knowledge, experience and skills of their own members to organise and provide interest groups in accordance with the wishes of the membership. The teachers learn and the learners teach. Between them U3As offer the chance to study over 300 different subjects in such fields as art, languages, music, history, life sciences, philosophy, computing, crafts, photography and walking.


The U3A approach is learning for pleasure. It is self-regulated and the quality of provision and the quality of teaching and learning varies from centre to centre and from activity to activity. However, while much is known about the range, cost and accessibility of provision, there has been little research into the quality of provision and especially how it meets the needs and expectations of those in later life.




If learning has the positive effects for those in later life, discovered through research and recognised through experience, then such benefits should be woven into the fabric of a society blanketed by prosperity and civility. This could be done through ensuring that later life learning is:


•Open to all especially those from ethnic minorities, the less well educated (who need it most) and men (who access it least),


•Available locally so it is accessible in community hubs and settings for people who would not, or could not, travel to access it elsewhere,


•Free at the point of access- balancing the funds allocated to pupils and students with funds to support the increasing numbers in later life,


•Of high quality so that both those teaching and those learning in later life know just how to get the maximum benefits from learning.


The reduced public spending allocated to adult education over recent years has had a negative effect on provision and has lessened the benefits from later life learning. The gap has been partially filled by volunteer organisations such as U3A reducing the costs to the government purse. However, the cost of not using learning as a tool to enhance the lives of all those in later life by making it accessible, free and of a high quality, is likely to be even greater both for individuals and for society too.




-Boshier, P. (2006) ‘Perceptions of Quality in Adult Learning’, Continuum International Publishing Group, New York.


-‘Carnegie Inquiry into the Third Age’ (1993) Final Report, Dunfirmline: Carnegie UK Trust.


-Field, J. (2006) ‘Good for your Soul? Adult Learning and Mental Wellbeing.’ International Journal of Lifelong Education, No.28, Vol.2, pp.175-191


-‘Foresight Mental Capital and Wellbeing Project’ (2008) Final Project report – Executive summary, The Government Office for Science, London.


-Glendenning, F. and Battersby, D. (1990). ‘Why we need educational gerontology and education for older adults: A statement of first principles’ in


-Glendenning, F. and Percy, K. (eds.), Ageing, education and society, readings in educational gerontology, Association for Educational Gerontology, The University of Keele.


-McNair, S. (2012) ‘Older people’s learning in 2012 – A survey’, NIACE, Leicester


-Nash, I. (2015)’ What the GP ordered: a course of education’, The Times Educational Supplement (tes), No. 5164, pp. 44-45


-‘National Population Projections, 2012-based Statistical Bulletin’ (2013), Office for National Statistics, HMSO, London.


-Schuller, T. and Watson, D. (2009) ‘Learning Through Life: Inquiry into the Future of Lifelong Learning’, NIACE, Leicester.


-Straunch, B. (2010) The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain, Penguin, London.


-United Nations (2013) ‘World Population Prospects: The 2012 revision, key findings and advance tables’. New York: United Nations.








The creation, management and development of a successful, independent, contemporary arts organisation.

Norrie Beswick-Calvert


Southport Contemporary Arts (SCA) is a network of creative practitioners living and working in Southport, Merseyside and surrounding areas. Run as a Company limited by guarantee with a not for profit constitution, SCA is now in its 7th Year. The Network grew out of a need, within the town’s creative community, to raise the voice of that community at time when many felt that there was no way to be seen or heard.


Thanks, I believe, to a strong Arts educational presence, which for many years was an independent Arts college, Southport is blessed with a wide ranging skill base of part time and full time Artists, Makers, Designers, and Creative practitioners working across the Arts. When SCA was initially conceived, however, many working in those fields, felt not only unsupported by the local council’s lack of support for the creative industries, but also a lack of will for partnership or joined up thinking.


Initially, the concept of a creative network that would open up opportunities for like-minded people to communicate and together establish an environment in which the Creative voice could be heard, grow and prosper, was brought together by a small group of individuals who worked within the sector or who commissioned work from the sector.


This group contacted all of the individuals on their creative radar and asked two questions; the first being -


Do we think that there is a need for a network where the members of that network are connected through a common purpose, enabling greater opportunities than would seem to be possible as an individual?

The answer to this was a resounding “yes” and from the first, we had a strong active membership of 25, mainly representing the visual arts, but not exclusively.


The 2nd question being-

What is it we are trying to achieve?

After some initial meetings the two principal aims of SCA were born:


-To help Artists working in any creative genre, who live and work in Southport and surrounding areas, network with other creatives, gain more opportunities to showcase and sell their work, and share their skills with each other and the wider community.


And perhaps a quite surprising aim:


-To engage the wider community with a wide variety of participative creative activity, through workshop classes and public events, thus offering inspiration.


(I say surprising because initially we hadn’t thought that individuals would be prepared to give their time to enabling the Network to achieve its aims, but many who had signed up felt very strongly that it was important to share and create a sense of inspiration and aspiration. Many were also very aware of what is now a very well worn phrase, but which at the time was not heard so much “ Health and Wellbeing through creativity”)


Well, over the seven years, underpinned by this strong statement of intent, SCA has grown organically as an organisation. That is to say as the Network has grown, it has done so with a glance back at the 2 principal aims that were agreed upon and that has helped us make key decisions about direction and commitment.


Organisationally, having formed as a Company Limited by Guarantee, with a not for profit constitution, we decided at a very early stage that we would invite interested parties to become members, keeping the fees as low as possible, and that all posts and roles would be on a voluntary basis. We also asked the new membership, which areas of activity they would be happy to instigate, oversee or help with in some way. All of which is the way that we still work and it has meant that everyone is happy doing whatever task it is they are working on and that surprising things happen, we also have to accept that some things happen more slowly than we would like or the outcomes are different from those anticipated.


Financially, we felt very strongly that we should not apply for, and therefore become reliant on, regular funding from any quarter.


We were acutely aware of the fragile state of arts funding nationally and the non-existence of any at a local level, and our intention was, and is, to use our combined skills as effectively as possible to generate activity and income that will pay for ongoing projects, and only apply for funding for specific “special” projects.


In our 1st year we held a variety of exhibitions around the town, showcasing the membership’s work, which generated income for the artists. We also organised public events such as the Big Draw, which engaged the public with the artists and their own potential creative involvement.


The success and feedback from these events gave us the encouragement to hold our 1st Arts Trail, thereby enabling the general public to interact with Artists and makers working in their own locality, as well as take part in workshops run by the artists. It was more successful than we could have imagined and it gave us evidence that the general public had an appetite for not only supporting their creative community but also for getting involved.


On the back of this, and by now with the encouragement of two key individuals from Southport Tourism, we opened a small studio workshop in Southport’s indoor market. We ran this as a timetabled learning environment and, as well as general workshops in a wide variety of media, we also expanded our reach into the community and started working with Autism Initiatives and the Alzheimers Society. We applied for, and received small amounts of funding from Autism Initiatives and the Community Foundation on a match funded basis and were able to witness, first hand, the incredible benefits of creative activity in both very different, groups.


We ran the studio for 3 years, and became financially stable enough to be able to pay artists for their teaching time. We continued to hold exhibitions showcasing our members work in various venues and also continued developing the Arts Trail, with the help of funding from Arts Council. We then came to a point that we felt we needed to reevaluate our position and learn from our experiences. We had built up a strong membership base, which had grown to 50 members, we had regular clients coming to workshops, our exhibitions were well received, with members work selling well and we had made valuable partnerships with other organisations.


With the organisational and financial information and experience we had gathered, we came to the conclusion that we needed our own premises from which we could grow SCA’s aims.


Again we were clear that we did not want to rely on regular funding to achieve this. We watched as many other arts organisations struggled to stay afloat and cope with impending funding cuts looming over them. The uncertainty would have undermined our efforts to move forwards and the possibility that the phenomenal teamwork, that had enabled us to get to this point, would be torn apart, would have been unbearable.


With a renewed team commitment we went in search of a property that would allow us to do what we already knew we could achieve plus added things that we felt would enhance our organisation, while remaining true to our 2 original aims. We found a town centre property on Eastbank Street, Southport, which potentially offered the 3 elements that we felt were important to SCA’s remit:


-A Gallery from which to showcase not only the Memberships work but also that of many other individuals and organisations that had become, by now, part of our extended creative orbit.


-A dedicated workshop, from which we could run our own classes but which could also be used by other individuals or organisations.


-Studio spaces that Creatives could hire at an accessible cost.


We took on the premises in March 2012. The vision of the possibilities inspired not only our members but also our clients, and the wider circle of creatives in the community, who were to be found knocking down walls, up ladders painting, and on their hands and knees laying floors. We were also supported by local businesses who helped with start up costs and materials. It was a remarkable sight to see everyone pitching in to renovate, and re-imagine what had been a copy and print shop, into a four floored creative hub.


We are now into our 4th Year at ArtHouse. It has been a very exciting phase for SCA and it has enabled us to really connect with the extensive creative community that we know is such a strong and vibrant part of Southport’s make-up. In our Gallery, we have hosted 55 separate exhibitions, with work coming from solo artists, creative organisations and colleges, as well as regular opportunities for SCA members and non- members.


We have been able to improve Artists earnings potential and have paid several thousands of pounds back into their pockets from the sales of their work, as well as helping individual artists grow their own practice on a number of different levels.


Our classes continue to engage the public with a wide variety of creative opportunities and, as part of that, we have seen so many fantastic individual outcomes that we know we are contributing to the make up a stronger and more resilient community.


The concept of making spaces available for creative practice has flourished and we continue to have four working studios, encompassing two design companies, painters and writers.


Our connections and partnerships have grown too. We now work with Sefton Education Partnership and individual schools to offer work experience placements for youngsters interested in working in an arts based role and our Arts Trail, which has continued to grow, has been supported by Southport BID in recognition of the fact that our creative community contributes substantially to the profile of Southport within the visitor economy.


Our experience, up to this point has shown us that with defined aims and a clear vision, strong leadership, strong teamwork and the ability to evolve with the community that we are engaging with, we can grow sustainably and make a real difference to the creative landscape and the benefits that it can bring to our community.


Where do we go from here? Well, we feel we have two main areas that need our attention. One more general and one more specific.


Firstly, one of the challenges for some of Southport’s established artists and makers is that there just is not the market for their work which, due to the nature of the work, is expensive and in some cases quite specialist. We would like to find creative ways of making them and their work more visible in situations where they might attract the appropriate buyers and audience. That may be through our hotels base or other large business support.


Secondly, up to three years ago, Southport had always had a ceramics education and studio facility, as part of Southport Arts College. Three years ago the whole department was closed down and the equipment sold on. Luckily two key members of the college staff bought some of these resources and opened an independent studio. Learners and skilled practitioners alike could continue their practice, and many of them have been showing with us either as part of an exhibition or as part of the Arts Trails.


This facility is now relocating out of the area and leaves a huge creative hole in the opportunities for learners and practitioners to work in a specialist shared studio base, from which so much beautiful work emerges.


It was a facility that attracted people from a wide area not just Southport, mainly due to the

specialist nature of the working environment it provided.


We have therefore decided to open a new Ceramic studio facility under the SCA banner and are currently fundraising to enable that to happen during 2016.


If it is important to us as a community, if it meets our original aims, and we can possibly find a way to do it, together, we will do it.








A recipe for success in the independent book trade.

Bob Stone


  • Introduction*


We are grateful to Sarah Butler for her excellent article ‘Independent bookshops in decline as buying habits change’, ‘The Guardian’, 21/2/14, and are using it as our introduction.


The number of independent bookshops gracing British high streets has fallen below 1,000 – a third fewer than nine years ago, amid cut-throat competition from supermarkets, Amazon and ebooks.


Booksellers warned that the health of the publishing industry was at risk as new figures revealed more than 500 independent outlets have shut since 2005.


With the additional pressures of rising costs and the economic downturn that face all small retailers, 67 local bookshops closed last year, according to the Booksellers Association, while just 26 opened, leaving 987 still trading.


“Everyone should sit up and take notice of this,” said Tim Godfray, chief executive of the association. “The book trade, the government and the general public need to realise that if we don’t take action now, the future of our bookshops – and therefore the health of the publishing industry and reading itself – is at risk.”


Children’s specialist the Lion & Unicorn bookshop in Richmond, south-west London, the Dover Bookshop in Covent Garden and Hale Bookshop in Cheshire were among last year’s casualties. Meanwhile, independent booksellers said that difficulties in getting finance were putting off new shop owners.


The association has called in celebrities including former model Lily Cole, celebrity chef Rachel Khoo and TV presenter Dawn O’Porter, to help muster support for independent bookshops under the Books Are My Bag campaign.


Lily Cole, who co-owns the Claire de Rouen bookshop on Charing Cross Road, London, said: “It’s great that there are so many ways now to consume literature but the independent bookshop is a crucial part of our culture and I would hate to see them disappear from our towns and cities.”


Bookshops, clearly, face the same problems as many other independent retailers, from rising rents and business rates to parking charges…. But they face the extra challenge from the digital and the big online retailers.


While independent stores are facing the most serious problems, booksellers in general are suffering as the number of printed books sold dropped by 9.8% last year to 184 million, according to analysts at Nielsen BookScan. The fall was partly due to a slowdown in sales of EL James's racy Fifty Shades trilogy, which at the peak of their popularity accounted for almost half of all novels sold. But physical book sales are also being hit by the switch to digital, with separate figures indicating ebook sales rose 134% in 2012 to represent more than 7% of book publishers' total sales.


In the face of changing habits even Waterstones, the UK’s biggest bookstore chain, has shrunk from about 300 to 280 stores in the past few years as it has battled to return to profitability.


However, there is hope that the dramatic changes may have largely run their course. James Daunt, who owns the independent Daunt Books chain and runs Waterstones, said that in the US, where ebooks appeared earlier than in the UK, sales of digital books appear to have reached a plateau, while Amazon is seeing slower growth in book sales.


After a reasonable Christmas, Waterstones is opening new stores again this year, with up to a dozen planned.


“Perhaps the worst is over,” Daunt said. “But bookshops still have to be very good to justify themselves these days. It’s not an easy trade but if you can earn the respect of your customer you will do fine.”


He said bookshops were learning to survive by opening cafes and offering new ideas such as subscription services in which readers are regularly sent books to suit their interests and tastes. “Bookshops are evolving into something that goes beyond books and that’s quite exciting,” he said.

Morag Watkins, co-owner of Chorleywood Bookstore in Hertfordshire, said the store was thriving despite the tough market because it put on lots of events and festivals with authors and celebrities from Terry Wogan to Bill Bryson. “Bookshops have to get out into their communities and take books to the people because people are not going to come to them,” she said.


[* The future for independent book sellers- a case study *]


In May 2015, Write Blend opened its doors in South Road, Waterloo. The business was born out of the recognition that there are few things that go better together than a good book and a good cup of coffee. There was a recognition that Waterloo had a lack of decent coffee shops, and a complete absence of book shops, and it was fortunate that the South Road premises, which had been a gym with a Costa Coffee above it, became available. It seemed ideal and the deal was done.


Write Blend is now an established bookshop, stocking a good range of new books, as well as a carefully chosen selection of interesting pre-loved books. There is an ordering service for customers and for schools, and even hard to find out of print titles can be sourced in a matter of days. The Coffee Room has become very popular, and, as well as serving the shop’s own bespoke blend of coffee, also serves a delicious range of cakes, which includes gluten and lactose free and even vegan cakes. Lunchtimes sees a busy trade in paninis and sandwiches and Write Blend is in a position to expand the menu to meet demand.


Write Blend is rapidly establishing itself as something of a much-needed cultural hub in the area. Writers and creators now frequently use Write Blend as a destination of choice for meetings and networking. Creative events are a regular feature on the calendar. Exampkles include-


- The first Saturday of each month is a poetry night. Established poets such as Stephen Beattie and Ian Bradley Marshall give performances and this is often followed by an Open Mic session in which aspiring poets can air their work for appreciation and comment.


- The first Monday of each month sees a night entitled “Making Mondays Matter”. On these evenings, Sally-Anne Tapia-Bowes, who is an author, English teacher and partner in the business, hosts a book club which is followed by a creative wring workshop.


- Tuesday evenings have recently accommodated a six week life drawing and portraiture course run by local artist and teacher Margaret Young.


- One of the first events in the shop was a performed rehearsal of a play written for Radio 4 by Frank Cottrell-Boyce, with music by composer and violinist Alberto Sanna.


- Write Blend recently hosted a music night at which the Southbound Attic Band performed “The Willows Suite”, a suite of songs based on “The Wind In The Willows”.


A staple of any bookshop’s business is author signings, and since opening, Write Blend’s diary has become increasingly full. A recent event with Tom Cox, whose books about his life as a cat owner have a massive following, attracted nearly 100 people who enjoyed Tom’s talk and then queued patiently the length of the shop to have their books signed. Children’s authors such as Jacqueline Harvey, Kate Pankhurst and Ruth Eastham have all attended events in the shop and in the local schools. During 2015, football legends Jamie Carragher, Bob Latchford and David Fairclough had all been at Write Blend.


The shop, however, does not just promote big names. Part of the business’s mission statement is to promote the work of lesser-known and independent authors.


- Clare Coombes spoke to over 60 people at a signing of her book “Definitions”.


-Children’s authors Jude Lennon, Donna Gowland and Rachel Lyon have all had signing events at the shop.


- The creators of the “Pugalugs” series of books, Jessica Parish and Helen Poole have now been twice, each time accompanied by two lovable pug dogs.


- Birmingham based B.B.Taylor came to sign her animal stories and brought with her a raccoon, a baby fox and an enormous Eurasian Eagle owl, to the delight of her young audience.


The owners of Write Blend are also very keen to emphasise the fact that the business is part of a wider community. The Waterloo Marine Gardens recently ran a Scarecrow Festival, and the Write Blend team were happy to send along storytellers to dress as scarecrows and entertain the children. When the team from In Another Place organised the Qwerkies Trail, Write Blend signed up straight away, and their mermaid Qwerkie quickly became a popular attraction.


Through their numerous events, Write Blend have been able to make donations to, among others, Freshfield Animal Rescue and the Young Minds charity. Members of the Write Blend team Tony Higginson and Sally-Anne Tapia-Bowes present a weekly book show on Halton Community radio, and Tony can often be heard contributing to Linda McDermott’s show on Radio Merseyside.


Write Blend is more than a bookshop and more than a coffee shop. It is a creative hub, a community resource and is in the forefront of the way independent booksellers need to be. If booksellers can get it right, there will be many exciting and fulfilling future opportunities for enhancing our local communities.















[+ The regulations around Community Radio and a story of success- 'Sandgrounder Radio.' +]

Dave Walker


What are community radio stations?


Community radio stations typically cover a small geographical area with a coverage radius of up to 5km and are run on a not-for-profit basis. They can cater for whole communities or for different areas of interest – such as a particular ethnic group, age group or interest group. Community radio stations reflect a diverse mix of cultures and interests. For example, you can listen to stations which cater for urban or experimental music, while others are aimed at younger people, religious communities or the Armed Forces and their families. OFCOM, the Independent regulator for the UK communications industries, controls the licensing of Community Radio.


What services must a community radio station provide?


A community radio station’s programmes will reflect the needs and interests of its audience. But rather than ‘talk at’ its community, the station should become a central part of it. This means creating direct links with its listeners, offering training opportunities and making sure that members of the community can take part in how the station is run. Community stations typically provide 93 hours of original and distinctive output a week, mostly locally produced. On average, stations operate with 87 volunteers who together give around 209 hours of their time a week.


Who can hold a community radio licence?


Individuals are not entitled to hold a licence. Ofcom only offer licences to registered companies (or equivalent bodies such as those created by statute). No company or organisation can hold more than one community radio licence. There are also restrictions on ownership between commercial radio and community radio.


What does not for profit mean?


It means any profits generated by the community radio station cannot be given to shareholders for example, or to benefit the people running the service. However, this requirement does not prevent stations from paying staff. Any profit or surplus must be used for securing or improving the future provision of the radio service or for delivering social gain/community benefits to the station’s target community.


Can community stations broadcast adverts?


Each station can carry advertising and sponsorship, although there are rules on how much income they can take from these sources (income above £15,000 from advertising and sponsorship must be balanced with additional income from other sources). A small number of community stations – where they overlap with small commercial services whose studios are not co-located with other stations – are restricted to a maximum of £15,000 from advertising and sponsorship.



How do people apply for a community radio licence?


Ofcom can only accept applications for community radio licences as part of a licensing round, and not at any other time. Ofcom will usually advertise a licensing round and invite applications.


What is an ‘SRSL’, Short-term Restricted Service Licence?


An SRSL is a short-term radio licence to broadcast on AM or FM analogue radio granted for coverage of events, religious festivals or for trial broadcasts in preparation for applying for a longer-term licence. They are usually granted for a maximum of 28 consecutive days and are for small-scale community use. The service is restricted in both coverage and duration to make optimal use of the radio spectrum available for this type of licence, and to satisfy as far as is practicable the level of demand from applicants. SRSLs are generally issued on demand on a first come, first served, basis at the discretion of Ofcom, subject to the conditions for their issue being met and a suitable frequency being available.


An individual or organisation may be granted a maximum of two SRSLs within any period of twelve consecutive months, in the same area of the UK. However, only one licence per applicant per year will be granted within the Greater London area and other areas within the M25. This is due to extremely limited frequency availability in this area.


There should usually be a minimum period of four months between the end of a licensee’s first licence and the start of the same licensee’s second licence.


An example of a successful community radio station established and broadcasting under a Short term Restricted Service Licence – ‘Sandgrounder Radio’.


On 7th November 2015, Sandgrounder Radio started broadcasting on 87.7FM from their newly fitted state of the art studio in Wayfarers’ Arcade, Southport, Merseyside.


Sandgrounder Radio was the brain child of three highly ‘media experienced’ people: Neil Newton, who worked for BBC Radio Merseyside, Dune FM and Wirral Radio and is a presenter on the Sky TV Cruise channel: Andrew Hilbert, an experienced radio presenter and lecturer in radio presentation skills at Runshaw College, Preston, and Neil Hepworth, Head of Toucan Events, who are involved in the running of all the major events in Southport.


These three presented their business plan to the Media Licensing Committee who immediately granted the station an FM licence for 28 days. This is the industry norm for any new radio station. There were a number of options for the radio station after this licence expired but the first and foremost job was to prove that the station was run by a professional group of people who could both entertain, inform, and generally be beneficial to the local business and artistic community.


Since the demise of Dune FM Southport had been without a local radio station and Sandgrounder aimed to fill that gap.


Sandgrounder had secured the services of many experienced and well known broadcasters such as Johnny Kennedy, Pauline Daniels and Debbie Jones to ensure that professionalism was at the heart of all they did and were confident that a listener base could be built up very quickly. Many local businesses had already pledged their support, in advance of the launch, and the management of Wayfarers Arcade, in the centre of Southport, were excellent in ensuring that the radio station was at the heart of their activities in the run up to Christmas.


The radio station was particularly grateful to Andy Brown and all his staff at the Southport Visiter, the local newspaper, who had provided and continue to provide excellent publicity.


The line up of shows followed the tried and tested format of a breakfast show, mixing music, chat and interviews, a lunchtime show of music and news topics of the day and an afternoon drive time show. There was a variety of other shows, including a Saturday afternoon sports show and on a Sunday evening an Arts-based show featuring interviews with local singers, musicians, actors and writers. This show included a look at the history of the Southport Little Theatre and reviews of all the festive pantomime shows that featured in the town in 2015. It also featured music from up and coming local artists.


The management of the station had looked into and learned the lessons from previous local stations that had failed to live up to the pre-broadcasting hype and their vision for Sandgrounder Radio was underpinned with a solid business plan. This guaranteed that the service would do everything that it promised to do.


The aim was to show that Sandgrounder was a professional organisation during the 28 days of the FM licence and then apply for a digital licence early in 2016.


A key objective was to provide professionally made advertising broadcasts for our initial sponsors and to further develop that sponsorship base over the period of the licence.


Local radio is regarded as a prized asset nationally for providing publicity and advertising for local businesses and acting as a springboard for local talent .


An element of the vision at Sandgrounder was to be at the forefront of this promotional and publicity drive in Southport in the lead up to Christmas 2015 and to be recognised for their contribution.


And they certainly did achieve that recognition. 2016 saw Sandgrounder Radio applying for a DAB licence and also obtaining another short term FM licence. They will celebrate the switchover to DAB when the FM licence expires. The level of advertising, the quality of the shows and the listener ratings exceeded all Ofcom targets. A significant success story for local radio.














Building 'wellbeing' at community level in the north west

The CQEC Journal supports reflective practice and action research. It is aimed at policy makers on a local and national level. These include- the Leaders, Chief Executives and Senior Officers on local councils, regional governmental officers, local MPs, relevant ministerial departments and the office of the Prime Minister. This 2016-17 Journal is devoted to examples of building 'wellbeing' at community level in the North West of England. It is clear, from the contributions, that in the economic climate of 2016- with diminishing resources at a local authority level, funding cuts to the Arts and to non statutory educational provision and with intense competition from both internet and corporate traders- small businesses and charities need to find their unique selling point as a serious matter of economic survival. In the examples we have here all the organisations have identified their position in the local community, and a reciprocal relationship with that community, as central to their success. Perhaps it is because they are all seeking a relationship of genuine mutual benefit that they so successfully involve otherwise excluded or marginalised groups- the elderly, Alzheimer's sufferers, the unemployed, young people on the autistic spectrum, the disaffected. The benefits to the well-being of individuals and communities from this inclusive approach to conducting business are significant. There is engagement rather than disengagement, the opportunity for all to be involved in a more meaningful and creative life and the benefit of targeted fundraising addressing identified local needs. Underpinning all of the above, we see sound leadership and management in all our case studies and, crucially, a vision that it is possible to, not only run a successful small enterprise, but also make a difference to the local community. We are grateful to the individual contributors- Christine Physik, Enda Rylands, Alan Potter, Norie Beswick-Calvert, Bob Stone, Dave Walker.

  • ISBN: 9781310847479
  • Author: SeaQuake Books
  • Published: 2016-02-17 12:40:08
  • Words: 11892
Building 'wellbeing' at community level in the north west Building 'wellbeing' at community level in the north west