As a keen DJ, Stu wanted to explore the idea of working as self-employed but at first didn’t know how possible this could be. After enrolling on the Outset Cornwall programme, he was encouraged by Outset’s Enterprise Coach Pam Sekula to explore the idea of using his skills to launch a social enterprise. As Stu has always been passionate about his local community, this would be the perfect way to use his expert skills while helping others.
“Pam looked at my skills and passions and suggested that I contact the Cornwall School for Social Entrepreneurs (CSSE) and explore the idea of launching a social enterprise with my DJing skills. She gave me the contact, and so I started developing a way of giving something back to my community alongside making a living.
“I had previously gained some experience working in community radio having done some volunteering with Source FM in Falmouth. This enabled me to experience first hand how volunteering on community radio really could change someone’s life, so I decided to replicate the model in my home town of Redruth.”
Working with Outset and the CSSE, Stu worked on a business plan and set about launching the Redruth Community Interest Company and Redruth Radio, a social enterprise created to improve the social and economic conditions of the town of Redruth. The radio station acts a community spot where volunteers can come in on a one-off a frequent basis to host their own show.
Stu explains, “It’s a big deal for the community and gives the town something for the town to be proud of. It’s their station. Everything it broadcasts is made by local people, for local people.”
Starting out, the need for premises to house the new radio station was his biggest stumbling block. With a little help from Cornwall Neighborhoods for Change, who were developing the Elms in Redruth, a home for Redruth Radio was found
“When the Elms opened in early 2011, I was delighted to be given a couple of rooms in the building which is in the heart of the town and perfect for our needs.”
Having launched in mid-2011, Redruth Community Radio station now boasts over 30 live shows and enjoys 50 volunteers with their youngest member being an 11-year old presenter. Stu has the support of a loyal team including his day-to-day business manager, a host of administration staff and a range of guest presenters walking through their doors on a daily basis. Everyone who gets involved in Redruth Community Radio receives free training and is made to feel a real part of the team!
The station broadcasts a variety of shows including spoken word, heritage, plays, music charts, disability and specialty shows, poetry and much more. They are just about to launch their first Polish and Russian language programme, which is aimed at the minority groups in the community a first for Cornish radio. The team has been working hard to build links within the community and get as many people involved as possible.
Stu explains, “Its not about listening figures, its about providing a place where people can come and feel a part of something. We provide training to everyone that comes through our doors to help build confidence and inspire them to try new things.”
In addition to broadcasting regular shows, Stu also has big plans for other parts of the business, expanding Redruth CIC further. He has already started his own events and entertainment arm of the business providing music, sound and event expertise on a freelance basis to help support the running of the station. His radio team were the driving force behind this year’s St Piran’s Day celebrations and have been regulars on the main entertainment stage at the new Heartland’s project in Pool.
The great news is that Redruth Radio is about to hit the airwaves after being granted an FM licence by Ofcom early in May 2012. Until now the station has only been available online, but the new licence means that from March, 2013, it will be available on the radio allowing local listeners to tune in from their home or car radios.
“I have so many things that I would like to do now with the RCIC, that can generate an income for the station. I am concentrating on expanding our interests to support the station as much as possible but also to support the regeneration of our local area which will allow us to continue the great work we are doing.”