Danny Lawrence BEM is a local councillor and station manager of Basildon community radio station Gateway 97.8 who created a free radio scheme during the pandemic, distributing over 15,000 radios to help older people and those at risk of isolation.
Danny has been a champion for community radio for over 40 years, and is a former Chairman of the Community Media Association, the national body that represents community media across the UK. He is also the founder of The Radio Hub, a networking group for community radio stations across the UK which hosts regular workshops, shares best practice and industry developments, and provides guidance on routes to grant funding and other support.
At the start of the pandemic, Danny realised that radio could provide a vital form of connection and voice of comfort for people isolating at home, particularly vulnerable older people who may struggle with accessing other forms of digital communication.
After initially giving out free radio sets through Gateway 97.8 to residents aged over 70 in Basildon, Danny soon scaled up the scheme nationwide through The Radio Hub network, working alongside charities such as ‘Age UK’ to ensure thousands of isolated older people could benefit from access to a radio.
“I’m delighted that ‘The Radio Hub’ has been recognised. Like a lot of groups we had to adapt during COVID-19 and help tackle people in isolation across the UK, helping so many during these difficult times.
“I’d like to thank Ros Connors, founder at Gateway 97.8, for helping us be the pilot and to all groups who took the project on.”
Pictured below: Donald, one of the thousands of people supported by Danny’s scheme with a free radio set