BBC Local Radio’s Make a Difference highlights

The BBC Local Radio Make a Difference campaign has had over 300,000 listeners calling or texting into their local station in the first 30 days.

Listeners across the country have been getting in touch with calls for help, to share their stories of good news and with endless offers of support for those in need.

The campaign has also provided an opportunity for people to get in touch with information about their fantastic fundraising efforts, with one story going viral.

Here are just a handful of the incredible stories told through the Make a Difference campaign so far:

  • BBC Three Counties Radio first reported on the story that’s captured the nation of Captain Tom Moore who set out to do 100 laps of his garden before he turns 100 on April 30, and in doing so raise money for the NHS. His target was £1000 and he has to date raised over £26million
  • BBC Radio Devon ran a story on the rise of domestic abuse during lockdown, which resulted in a fourteen year-old boy walking to the station in his pyjamas. He had very sadly not left his bedroom for nearly a week because of some issues that he had been facing at home.
  • Radio Merseyside’s Gary Barlow thanked BBC Radio Merseyside and all radio stations broadcasting during the coronavirus crisis in a chat with presenter Sean Styles. Speaking about his Crooner Sessions – where he duets with famous pals on social media to keep spirits up – Gary spoke of the importance of radio and entertainment in these times. He said: “It definitely makes a difference, everyone who is broadcasting right now – this is the time when they’re needed the most. It takes people out of the real world for that couple of hours that they’re listening – it’s such a lovely escape.”
  • BBC Essex successfully helped Tracy and Mark Booth and their five pets find a new home after they went on the breakfast show asking for help. Their house tragically caught fire and they had nowhere to go – resulting in a night camped in their back garden. The Colchester Anti Loo Roll Brigade came to their rescue and the couple moved into a house that evening
  • Radio Solent was contacted by a listener called Hannah, her Great grandparents – Jean and Allan Goddard – were celebrating their 70th Wedding Anniversary. They were supposed to have a big family party to celebrate but the 90-year old couple are self-isolating. Jean and Allan are avid listeners of BBC Radio Solent and they wanted a shout-out for their wedding anniversary, but instead of a regular shout-out, the team decided to set up a surprise virtual party for the couple in the ‘function room’. Jean and Allan thought they were coming on the show to talk about ‘the secret to a happy marriage’, little did they know their family were joining the virtual party.
  • BBC WM had a call from a woman whose husband had died two weeks previously. She was on her own in the house and had run out of food and didn’t know what to do. She had no other family. Within two hours of hearing the appeal The Real Junk Food Project had contacted us wanting to help and had delivered groceries to her. They’re staying in touch with her throughout this to make sure she’s ok.
  • BBC Radio Cambridgeshire covered the story of a school teacher from Sutton who has been singing virtually to care homes in Cambridgeshire via Skype to help keep spirits up. Stuart Green recently performed virtually to Waterbeach lodge – but he’s keen to connect and sing to many more people in the county. He’s also performing shows live on Facebook to raise money for Ely foodbank.
  • Radio London highlighted the story of a woman who is using her daily exercise to cycle around her neighbourhood donating old books. “Book fairy” Stella von Koskull has been delivering books from her own collection to her neighbours who are self-isolating. She’s been through Fulham, Chelsea, Tooting, Hammersmith, Shepherds Bush, Barnes and elsewhere. She says people are so happy to see a friendly face.
  • Radio Tees covered the story of James Cook Hospital patients in palliative care who cannot have visitors. They did an appeal on BBC Radio Tees for some tablets/ipads etc so that they could facilitate video calls with loved ones. A listener got in touch with them and they now have two devices to keep in touch.

Chris Burns, Head of BBC Local Radio comments, “I am so proud of our teams, in the office, working from home and out on the road, who are keeping their shows going in this unprecedented time.

“Local Radio is really demonstrating that it is at the heart of communities. The stories that have been emerging from every region have been exceptional. BBC Local Radio really is a friend to all and we will continue to deliver great stories, news and music to your homes to keep up some normality in this crisis.”