Vintage Radio: KenCommunity Voices aims to inspire, engage and empower communities who feel disadvantaged or isolated with the confidence, skills, and access to resources and funding that will enable them to find their voice and make it heard, using digital media.

This year Community Voices is being funded by Nominet Trust and will be supporting communities across the UK who feel unheard due to disability, older age, or long term illness.

The project was set up in 2009 with funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). It was a two-year project that supported 25 communities across England to make a meaningful difference to their lives with the help of digital media. It also saw the launch of the Inspiring Voices awards through which 23 communities were rewarded for their inspirational use of digital media.

Film crewThroughout the project £186,036 was invested as grants or awards directly into 48 disadvantaged and isolated communities benefitting 2650 people directly. 239 digital mentors, who are professionals in the media industry, were also matched into communities to support them to communicate and get their voices heard.

Community Voices also substantially changed the lives of those who took part:

“For them [on the steering group] it’s had a massive impact because their lives have changed. Four of them have got jobs, and one is just about to get a job. So it has made a real difference.” Suzy Russell, Hidden Homeless

“The older people involved have gained a lot more confidence, we have helped isolated people who maybe have lost their partners and our project has given them a new sense of direction and a chance to meet new people and develop skills. One whose confidence was low has even been able to interview local councillors, something she never thought she’d be able to do.” Gordon Nicholls, Chair, Vintage Radio

Now this model of support is being rolled out for a further year with funding from the Nominet Trust. With a focus on communities who feel unheard due to disability, older age, or long term illness, we will support communities from the bottom up, to run their own media projects addressing their own specific circumstances, enabling them to better access public and peer support services, and empowering them to have a voice and get it heard.