Wind farm helps community radio station reach the airwaves
A community radio station was started after a £5,000 grant helped bring it to South Lanarkshire.
Avondale Radio Station was an instant hit with the community of Strathaven and surrounding villages and grew from a permanent start to 14,000 listeners in just three months of launch.
The radio station hit the airwaves after receiving a grant from Renewable Banks‘ The Kype Muir Wind Farm Community Fund, which has been designed to support local communities so that they can share in the benefits of Banks’ developments in the area.
The radio was created by Creative frets – a community benefit enterprise providing creative spaces, workshops, music lessons and events in Strathaven for local artists, photographers, writers and musicians. He applied to the Kype Muir Wind Farm community fund when the group came up with the idea of starting the Avondale radio station.
Les Hoggan, co-founder of Frets Creative, said: “The funding we received through the Kype Muir Wind Farm community fund was essential in setting up what is now a great service for the locals who, we hopefully provides an abundance of entertainment.
“We started from scratch and now have over 25 volunteer presenters, offering a range of shows from 60s and 70s music to Americana, wellness and breakfast shows – we even have a chat show with people and businesses from across the community. There is something for every taste.
Les and Frets Creative co-founders Douglas MacIntyre and Mhairi Anderson decided to start the Avondale radio station when Les’s friend Kenny Quigley suggested the idea to him while on a dog walk. Kenny is now the station’s manager, overseeing over 30 shows, with his partner Nancy Luke handling all of the station’s programming.
Les added: ‘It’s really gone from being an idea that Kenny suggested on a dog walk to a tangible service that many people actually benefit from. We were expecting to have around two or three thousand listeners, so to have 14,000 streams so quickly makes us all very proud.
“It’s great to see that the great work done on a local wind farm can be translated directly to benefit the local community in so many different ways.”
The community benefit enterprise has also rented a unit in the heart of Strathaven where it mentors budding artists through music lessons and offers them use of the space for creative arts.
Applications for community funding are determined by the Kype Muir Community Panel (KMCP), a community-led group of local community advisors who agree on how grants can be awarded to best meet local needs, with the aim of leave a lasting legacy to the wind farm.
Robin Winstanley, Head of Sustainability and External Affairs for Hamilton-based Banks Group, said: “The station has provided locals with quality entertainment from the start and has also acted as a brilliant place for its radio volunteers to hang out. express creatively.
“Being able to provide these funds for valuable projects like the Avondale Radio Station is just another great benefit of the Kype Muir Wind Farm. It’s amazing to see the variety of great projects the wind farm has been able to fund, and we look forward to supporting even more initiatives that benefit local communities around our developments in the future.
The fund is part of Banks Renewables’ Connect2Renewables initiative, in which the family business is committed to maximizing the economic, social and environmental benefits of all its wind farms in South Lanarkshire.
Kype Muir and the Kype Muir Extension are expected to provide community benefits equivalent to over £770,000 each year made available to surrounding communities.
The 41 Kype Muir turbines and the Kype Muir extension will have a combined installed generation capacity of over 150 MW of electricity per year. That’s enough to meet the electricity needs of over 100,000 homes, or over 200,000 people or a city larger than Aberdeen.
To learn more about Frets Creative, visit: https://fretscreative.com/
To learn more about Avondale Radio Station, visit: https://avondaleradio.com/
To learn more about Banks Renewables, visit: https://www.banksgroup.co.uk/renewables/