Published on: 26th June 2019
MediaCityUK-based community youth radio station, Unity Radio, is to launch its ground-breaking social enterprise ‘I Believe’ project, after securing funding through the NHS Salford CCG's Innovation Fund.
The ‘I Believe’ project will deliver a programme of workshops that will bring together young people who are facing different issues in their lives affecting their mental health and wellbeing, such as knife crime, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy.
The project will engage 45 vulnerable young people from Salford to participate in workshops to explore and debate their own views on the issues that matter to them, using radio as a platform to share these in an expressive, creative and personal way.
Unity Radio, based in the Landing@MediaCityUK, will run the ‘I Believe’ workshop sessions twice a week, with a live two-hour radio broadcast once a week titled ‘NGY’ (Next Gen Youth). NGY will provide local communities with an opportunity to engage in dialogue on various issues that affect their lives, providing a platform to those who have been marginalised by society.
‘I Believe’ will evolve a young person’s interest in urban music and music creation, from a hobby into skills for life, working towards an accredited arts award. The workshop sessions will provide vocational training in radio skills and tackle underlying issues that affect young people’s emotional well-being and encourage the reporting of incidents as well as providing victim support.
Unity Radio will invite public service representatives as well as music industry figures to animate and add depth to the sessions. Using broadcast and social media to consider real life stories and messages to create a powerful social narrative about the issues young people face in their communities
The project comes at a time when support for young people’s mental health and well-being is needed more than ever. Young people with mental health problems are less likely to be in employment, education or training and are more likely to be in receipt of benefits. They are also eight times more likely to have contact with the criminal justice system. (Knapp et al 2016 report).
Lee Dinsdale, Director of Unity Radio said: “The project acts as an enrichment program which not only enhances their current education needs but also gives vulnerable young people the opportunity to improve their confidence as well as develop new digital and creative skills.
"By coming into the heart of MediaCityUK and working within a real life broadcast facility it will open up new thought processes that they belong here too and therefore raise their aspirations for the future.”
Stephen Wild, Managing Director of MediaCityUK added:“Unity Radio is a fantastic social enterprise which has been successfully engaging disadvantaged youngsters and nurturing their talent for some time. This latest project will really make a difference to local, young people who may not ordinarily have the confidence to speak out and pursue their interest in broadcasting.”