Academy FM Folkestone - GOLD winner at the Community Radio Awards 2017 & 2018
At the 2017 awards ceremony in Bristol, Academy FM won Gold in the Arts & Creative Radio category, for the educational sound-art project 'Folkestone Life', supported by Arts Council England. This raised Academy FM's tally of Community Radio Awards to six, including three Golds - read about our success at the 2016 awards here.
The project, led by Helen Sharp, has worked with 150 school children and gave them the opportunity to record sounds from their lives and edit these sounds into fantastic stories without words. The children made up surreal tales about knights and unicorns, ghost stories, and futuristic sci-fi adventures. All the sounds were recorded by the children in the classroom, at home or in and about the town. These stories were then made into programmes broadcast on Academy FM Folkestone during the international arts festival, the Folkestone Triennial that is held in the town until 5th November 2017. In addition to this, the sounds the children recorded are part of a live sound art installation, based on the Folkestone Harbour Arm for all to come and play with - everyone can create their own sound art. Helen Sharp is also taking this project to local schools to give an introduction to sound art to more children.
Academy FM's volunteer Sam Howard was also shortlisted in the Newcomer of the Year category, for her work in production and broadcasting. Academy FM Station Manager Dave Sharp said: "It was a fantastic evening, and the judge's feedback for our Folkestone Life project was incredibly positive. All of this wouldn't have been possible without the support of the Folkestone Academy, the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust and funders such as the Tudor Trust, the Kent Community Foundation, Santander, Shepway District Council and Kent County Council. We're especially grateful to the Arts Council who funded this project, with support from Folkestone Town Council".
One year later, at the 2018 awards in Sheffield, Academy FM won the Innovation category for the Wellcome Trust funded 'Get On' project. For 3 years we worked with young people in Folkestone, using the radio station to help engage them with science and medicine. For the primary part of the project, Helen Sharp trained students to do radio interviews with scientists and doctors, to answer their questions about the subject. Another aspect saw Helen delivering science-based projects in 9 schools. The project was designed to utilise the strengths of the radio station, and we believe the project is unique.
Community Radio Awards chair Martin Steers said: "We can't believe how much these awards have caught the imagination of the volunteers who are producing engaging radio for their communities. We're pleased to see that the sector is not only surviving but thriving."