Community radio stations receive the King’s Award for Voluntary Service

Academy fm Thanet, The Eye and Sittingbourne Community Radio have been recognised with a King’s Award for Voluntary Service this year.

The stations are just three of the 262 local charities, social enterprises, and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year.

It was created in 2002 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee and, following his accession, His Majesty The King emphasised his desire to continue the Award.

Recipients are announced annually on 14th November, The King’s Birthday. Award winners this year are wonderfully diverse and include volunteer groups from across the UK, such as a social support network for disabled adults in Banffshire; a charity using a refurbished pool as a community hub in south Wales; volunteer doctors providing pre-hospital care across rural Cumbria and a village renewal organisation promoting sustainability, equality, and social inclusion in County Antrim.

In Thanet, representatives of Academy fm will receive the award crystal and certificate from Lady Annabel Colgrain Lord-Lieutenant of Kent. In addition, two volunteers from Academy fm will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May and June 2024, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.

Station Manager Debbie Day told RadioToday: “Academy fm is a 24-hour radio station playing a wide variety of music from the late 60s to present day, with volunteer presenters that have wonderful personalities keeping our listeners entertained. The radio is a lifeline to those listeners who are lonely, they know they can call us for a chat anytime, and to those who volunteer at the radio station, the support we give one another is vital to many who suffer with their mental health.

“I am very proud that Academy fm’s support for our local community has been recognised and I’m delighted that all the hard work and hours the volunteers put in is being rewarded in such a wonderful way.

Increasingly we are finding that both fundraising and grant applications are very difficult to come by, as there always seems to be causes that are viewed as more “charitable”, hopefully this award will help demonstrate the importance of what we do.”

Group Leader and Station Manager of Sittingbourne Community Radio (106.9 SFM); Peter Flynn told RadioToday: “Myself and the board of directors are delighted that our group’s work has been recognised. We are honoured to have been awarded the pinnacle of recognition for the hard work of our incredible team.

“Throughout the year we provide local people with a service that keeps them informed, entertained and engaged with the things that matter most to them here in Sittingbourne – that is at the heart of everything that we do as an Ofcom licensed community radio station, and today’s recognition is truly wonderful.

“This award pays tribute to all of the hard work and commitment our volunteers put in. Their hours of dedication both On Air and behind the scenes and the great community engagement we have is testament to their achievement and this award is the icing on the cake”.

Fellow board member Tony Weaver added: “This is splendid recognition for a great group of volunteers; a number of whom have been involved with the project since the station went on air full-time in July 2012.”

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said: “Each year, millions of volunteers give up their time to provide care and support, and this award recognises those truly making a difference to the lives of others across the United Kingdom.

“It’s brilliant to see the King continue the legacy of Her Late Majesty and reward those who support their local communities with kindness and compassion. Congratulations to all those who have been awarded.”

See more details and the full list here.