Co-Founder of Gateway 97.8 to be Honoured With the British Citizen Award

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Ros Connors, from West Malling, Kent is one of only 25 individuals to be recognised at the Palace of Westminster with the prestigious British Citizen Award (BCA) in recognition of their extraordinary endeavours.

The British Citizen Award in partnership with One Stop, is now in its eighth year and recognises exceptional individuals who positively impact their communities, charities, and individual cause.

Ros will be honoured on 7th July 2022 with The British Citizen Award for Services to the Community at the Palace of Westminster and will receive the coveted Medal of Honour. As a legacy of her achievements, Ros will be invited to use the post-nominals, BCAc.

Ros co-founded Gateway 97.8 community radio station in Basildon 16 years ago. The station has a remit of providing the local community with news and views, whilst also giving a voice to the local community, giving them access to local decision-makers and also serves to hold those decision-makers to account. Gateway 97.8 has been developed as a local asset, enabling young people opportunities to learn about broadcasting and train in different broadcast disciplines.

Ros oversees all programming and content production, and presents five days a week. Ros developed a feature called Community Action, giving charities a platform and airtime to make their appeals and directly ‘speak’ to the community – over 100 charities have benefited from free airtime. Ros introduced the Job Spot, a twice-weekly opportunity for local people to apply for jobs through the station and on Sundays, Ros has developed programming specifically for the older community.

Ros has held over 1000 interviews in just one year and has dedicated over 2000 hours (almost 40 hours per week) to volunteering per year. The radio station has also offered training to 5000 young people. Today, the station is funded by grants from bodies such as the National Lottery and Children in Need, but was initially funded by Ros and co-founder and best friend Yvonne Williams. The station has offered roles in presenting, engineering, reception, and offers Level 1 & 2 qualifications in Media Training as well as offering pathways into mainstream radio.

The station has a regular audience of 20,000 people and Ros is pushing the boundaries and exploring DAB and online broadcasting, not only for more people to be able to access the station but also from much further afield. Ros has developed a true community asset which has a purpose, to improve the community it serves and offer opportunities that are not easily available.

“This year’s medalists have reminded us of how many amazing people are supporting our communities, especially during these challenging times. At One Stop we serve many communities across the country, and we know how important voluntary work is to support those in need. We’re proud to be partnering with the BCA again and to play a small part in helping each medallist to be recognised. Our congratulations go to all honourees”, said Jonny McQuarrie, from BCA partner One Stop.

The Medal presentation will be hosted by TV news presenter Naga Munchetty, and attended by BCA PatronDame Mary Perkins, Founder of Specsavers, and The Rt Hon, Lord Dholakia.

The British Citizen Award was established in 2015 to recognise exceptional individuals who work tirelessly and selflessly to make a positive impact on their communities and society. The BCA recognises true community heroes who would otherwise likely be overlooked.

Dubbed ‘The People’s Honours’, each medalist has a day to remember befitting their achievements. At the Palace of Westminster, medals will be presented by Senior Representatives from official partners One Stop, Places for People, Specsavers, Objective HR and Experian who all support this unique programme. Following this, medallists are treated to an Open Top Lap of Honour tour around Central London before attending a reception at Church House.

The British Citizen Award is widely viewed as the nation’s way of recognising extraordinary, everyday people for exceptional endeavour and is truly representative of today’s multicultural Britain.