Community support

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


Isles FM is a community radio station based in Stornoway in the Western Isles. The station broadcasts to the entire community of Lewis and Harris, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week but is also available online so people can listen in from anywhere in the world.

Isles FM has been on air with a full broadcasting license since 1998. The station provides a mix of local news, information and music and there is a clear focus on the community, providing a voice to community groups and organisations. The station has proved its worth time and again, especially in times of disruption due to bad weather, with updates, travel information and news. Isles FM is more than a community radio station, it is the information lifeblood of the islands and a focal point for community information.

The radio has supported over 80 volunteers to develop their skills since it opened and many of these individuals have gone on to secure full-time employment using these skills. And while there are a number of training spaces available throughout the Western Isles, none have the space, state of the art technology and equipment that enables communication training and recording, that we offer. We are unique in what we do, we are seen as a community radio station, but are in fact commercial, we do not have any full-time staff, but are perceived by the general public to have paid employees. We compete with national radio broadcast radio services but as a rural island location the breadth of choice available to our community is greatly reduced and so it is hugely important to us to be able to offer this local radio service in our community.

Isles FM has survived due to the dedication and hard work provided by a core group of volunteers. It needs to plan for the future and to expand in order to sustain itself for the future and to continue providing the service it does. This application is aimed at driving that ambition and to develop the station fully.

To do so we wish to recruit and appoint a station manager for a 3-year period. Development of the radio, its volunteers, and new areas of activity are constrained due to the reliance on volunteer directors. We would like to offer more work placements and opportunities for young people and to continue to build on the volunteering opportunities we offer.

Having a manager would enable the following developments to be taken forward:
- the further recruitment and training of volunteers;
- Office management, including the let of the space as a hot-desk facility;
- Work with the NHS, local authority and other organisations to help deliver supported volunteer opportunities for individuals with particular needs, older people, and excluded young people;
- to seek contract and income generating opportunities, for instance to provide media training for councillors and others; and
- to broaden the use of the building in general

Isles FM

Moment of Pride

In 2019 this small radio station will celebrate its 25th anniversary. This is a great achievement for a volunteer organisation which has no paid staff, operating in one of the most rural areas of the country providing a service that reaches those most isolated in our society.

Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom