A community radio station has hit the decks running after a £5,000 grant helped put it on the air in South Lanarkshire.
Avondale Radio Station has proved an instant hit with the community of Strathaven and its surrounding villages and has grown from a standing start to 14,000 listeners within just three months of its launch.
The radio station hit the airwaves after being awarded a grant from Banks Renewables’ Kype Muir Wind Farm community fund, which was designed to support local communities so that they can share the benefits from Banks’ developments in the area.
The radio station was set up by Frets Creative – a community interest company offering creative spaces, workshops, music lessons and events in Strathaven for local artists, photographers, writers and musicians. It applied to the Kype Muir Wind Farm community fund when the group had the idea of launching Avondale Radio Station.
Les Hoggan, co-founder of Frets Creative, said: “The funding we received through the Kype Muir Wind Farm community fund was vital in setting up what is now an excellent service for locals that we hope provides an abundance of entertainment.
“We started from scratch and now have more than 25 voluntary presenters, providing a range of shows from 60s and 70s music all the way through to Americana, well-being and breakfast shows – we even have a chat show featuring people and businesses from across the community. There really is something for everyone.”
Les and Frets Creative co-founders, Douglas MacIntyre and Mhairi Anderson, decided to start up Avondale Radio Station when Les’ friend Kenny Quigley suggested the idea to him on a dog walk. Kenny is now the Station Manager, overseeing more than 30 shows, with partner Nancy Luke doing all the station scheduling.
Les added: “It really has gone from an idea Kenny suggested on a dog walk to a tangible service that loads of people are getting genuine benefit from. We expected to have around two or three thousand listeners so to have 14,000 tuning in so quickly makes us all very proud.
“It is brilliant to see that the great work being done on a local wind farm can be translated directly to benefit the local community in a host of different ways.”
The community interest company has also rented a unit in the heart of Strathaven where it mentors budding artists through music lessons and offers them use of the space for creative arts.
Applications for community funding are determined by the Kype Muir Community Panel (KMCP), a community led group made up of local community councillors who agree how grants can be awarded to best support local needs, aiming to leave a lasting legacy for the wind farm.
Robin Winstanley, sustainability and external affairs manager with Hamilton-based Banks Group said: “The station has provided locals with quality entertainment from the get-go and has also acted as a brilliant place for its radio volunteers to express themselves in creative ways.
“To be able to provide these funds for valuable projects like Avondale Radio Station is just another great benefit of the Kype Muir Wind Farm. It is incredible to see the variety of superb projects the wind farm has been able to fund, and we are looking forward to supporting even more initiatives that benefit the local communities around our developments in the future.”
The fund is part of Banks Renewables’ Connect2Renewables initiative, in which the family firm commits to maximising the economic, social and environmental benefits of all its wind farms in South Lanarkshire.
Kype Muir and Kype Muir extension are set to deliver community benefits equating to more than £770,000 each year made available to surrounding communities.
The 41 turbines of Kype Muir and Kype Muir extension will have a combined installed generating capacity of over 150MW of electricity per annum. This is enough to meet the electricity needs of more than 100,000 homes, or more than 200,000 people or a city larger than Aberdeen.