Latest grants announced including focus on Carers and Local Heroes

  • Five new projects totalling £108,000 have been announced
  • The work of Carers will be showcased on a network of 42 local radio stations
  • Hometown Heroes will be celebrated, in the first ACF project on the Heart brand
  • Latest grants mean £254,000 now allocated in this round, for 16 projects

The Audio Content Fund has today announced the latest grants to be awarded in its special funding round to support audiences during Coronavirus restrictions.

The fund, which is financed by the UK Government, launched a special rolling round last month following discussions between Radiocentre, AudioUK, and DCMS. Its allocated budget was recently increased to a maximum of £400,000, and this latest content brings to 16 the total number of projects funded, with £253,894 now awarded.

The projects include the first ACF-funded content to go out on the Heart brand, with Heart’s Hometown Heroes to be broadcast on the licences owned by Communicorp UK in Yorkshire, North Wales, and Hertfordshire. The featurettes, produced by Leeds-based This Is Distorted, will be based around short audio blogs from key workers in those regions, and will be broadcast during local Drive shows and included in advertising slots during the day.

The work of Carers will be the basis of Caring For Carers, a series of short-form interviews produced by John Dash Media and broadcast on a network of 42 local community and commercial radio stations. The content will be hosted by Gyles Brandreth, and will also feature contributions from professionals who will explain services available to support Carers and those they care for.

talkSPORT will broadcast a new series on weekend mornings called Sporting Memories, in partnership with the organisation of the same name that tackles dementia, depression and loneliness through the power of sports reminiscence. With its participants unable to meet up, Tongue Tied Productions will bring them together with the charity’s facilitators to help reconnect them to their past and bring listeners fascinating stories from sport’s past.

Meanwhile, Union JACK and JACK Radio will broadcast a new weekly series produced by Offside Productions Media (makers of the acclaimed Offside Rule podcast), called The Show Must Go On – bringing together stars of sport and comedy to explore how some of the country’s biggest sporting names are managing their time during isolation.   

Finally in this week’s announcement, Naked Productions will make a new radio drama for broadcast across community radio, written and produced by a team of disabled writers and performers. Reflecting on how isolation has led to everyone being forced to make the same difficult choices that disabled people make every day, each episode of Connections will explore a different type of isolation connected to disability. 

Mukti Jain Campion, member of the ACF Independent Funding Panel, said:

“I am not surprised that radio is proving to be such a great source of company, illumination and distraction during this unprecedented period, and feel really proud of the role that the ACF is able to play in supporting original public service content across a range of stations.

“Indie producers have risen to the challenge magnificently, despite the considerable technical challenges that social distancing imposes on radio production right now. It’s particularly heartening to see bids that showcase the vital role of Carers and other key workers. These are programmes that will help strengthen the bonds of community and hopefully make us all feel a little less alone.”

All projects will be produced safely and in-line with government guidelines, and most will start broadcasting in the next two weeks. 

The special funding round remains open, operating on a rolling basis until the ACF determine it is no longer necessary.  Ideas will be reviewed by the funding panel within two weeks, with funding for selected ideas made available promptly and upfront.

Sporting Memories – Tongue Tied Productions, for talkSPORT
20x 10min features, broadcast weekends at 10am
National AM and DAB Station, TX from 25 April

The Sporting Memories Foundation tackles Dementia, Depression and Loneliness through the power of sports reminiscence. Due to Covid-19, the sessions – usually held at football clubs – have been cancelled, so Tongue Tied Productions will facilitate them remotely and share the experiences of the participants with talkSPORT listeners. In ten-minute episodes we will hear from members up and down the country as they reminisce about their football stories.

Heart’s Hometown Heroes – This is Distorted, for Heart Hertfordshire, Heart North Wales and Heart Yorkshire
60x 2mins features, weekdays from 3pm, and featured during the day. Local FM and DAB stations. TX from 27 April 2020.

Are a series of audio blogs from key workers keeping Yorkshire, North & Mid Wales and Hertfordshire going through unprecedented times. Shining a light on the ordinary people doing extraordinary things as they go about their daily lives while the rest of the country stays safe at home.

The Show Must Go On – Offside Productions Media,
for Union JACK and JACK Radio

10x 1hr weekly shows, repeated five times per week.
National DAB Stations, TX from 2 May

With all live sport and live comedy cancelled for the foreseeable future, this programme will plug the gap and offer a weekly comedy/sport show where we get to hear from the people that should have been lighting up our screens and stages this summer. We will have a selection of guests including Olympians, Paralympians, Wimbledon players and Euros Home Nations stars and team them up with a comedian to learn more about their life and how they’ve been affected during self-isolation.

Caring For Carers – John Dash Media, for a network of 38 community and four commercial radio stations
15x 4min features, broadcast in various dayparts
All local FM Stations, some on DAB. TX from 4 May.

During this crisis we’ve heard many examples of people taking more time to care for others who need their help. However, 12% of our population has been caring for someone else on an on-going basis for years. What lessons can we learn from them?  

A series of short-form interviews with Carers, often in discussion with the person they care for, hosted by Gyles Brandreth. Participants will share their stories of how they’re copying through extremely challenging circumstances, and we’ll also hear from professionals who will explain what services are available to support them.

Connections – Naked Productions, for Resonance, Radio Verulam, All FM, Canalside Radio, and Radio LaB
5x 15min episodes, broadcast in various dayparts.
Local FM stations, TX from early June.

A series of 5x 15-minute dramas about making choices to make connections, all written by writers with disabilities. During this pandemic, we are all experiencing isolation in a way that many of us never normally encounter, and are having to make tough choices – something that is a regular daily occurrence for those with disabilities. Connections will be a lively sequence of dramas, each looking at a different example of isolation, shedding light on an experience often overlooked in the UK.