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PFCC £15k grant supports Thurrock BAME community radio station

Posted 1st August 2023

Young people from BAME communities in Thurrock are being inspired to get involved in the media with the launch of a new club. 

Thurrock African Group (TAG) brings together African families to offer each other friendship and support. 

During the pandemic lockdown, TAG launched its own radio station as a way of communicating with the community. Now, the idea has been expanded as a way of engaging with young people and giving them a positive project to get involved with.

The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex (PFCC) has contributed £15,000 to Thurrock African Group in the form of a crime and disorder reduction grant from the 2022-2023 Community Safety Development Fund to set up the Young People’s Radio Club. The club, launching soon on Saturdays and over the school holidays at Hassenbrook Academy in Stanford-le-Hope, is open to 40 11 to 18-year-olds.

Bukky Okunade, chair, said: “Initially, the radio station was set up to broadcast safety information to Africans in Thurrock during the pandemic.  Now, we plan on using the radio to support young people in terms of learning different skills, such as communication, and how to broadcast.

“We want to give young people diversionary things to do as they could be easily exploited while hanging around on the streets. There are gangs, County Lines and drugs out there. We want to get young people engaged in meaningful activities and to give them new opportunities.

“This project will give them the confidence to communicate and to learn the technical bits behind the scenes of running a radio station. They will learn soft skills, such as teamwork, interviewing skills and research skills – all those things that will make them better people in society. It is not just about radio, but about media as a whole as they will work on social media and podcasts, as well. Some are interested in media and this will really give them focus.”

Of the PFCC funding, Bukky said: “This funding enables us to get young people engaged and for them to have a voice with their peers, to be able to communicate in their language with each other. It means the PFCC is invested in our children and is enabling us to engage with them and for them to better themselves.

“It will prevent them from hanging around and wasting time, not valuing their time or their futures. They will be productive, instead, and add value to their lives. We want our young people to go out and thrive. We want them to have education, hope and ambition. We want to encourage them in life.”

PFCC Roger Hirst said: “Projects like this offer such a vital lifeline to our young people. When the only alternative can sometimes be hanging around on the streets, there is a risk of young people stumbling down the wrong path.

“Not only will Young People’s Radio Club keep young people in Thurrock occupied, it will also encourage them to pursue a meaningful hobby or even a career in the media.”

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