People supported in Bradford have been finding their voice, thanks to a community radio station run by Hft.

The station, which was founded in 2001, is run by Hft in partnership with community radio station BCB Radio. Encouraging people supported by the charity to run their own radio station, the project offers people a unique chance to develop broadcasting skills while also giving them a platform to share their views.

The group of ten are supported to take on all aspects of running a radio station, from researching interviews based on topical news, issues and challenges relevant to people with learning disabilities, to presenting the fortnightly show.

Covering a range of issues from healthcare to current affairs, the station has become a vital source of information and a means of promoting awareness around subjects that can be more difficult to discuss, including stress and healthy eating.

Staff at the service ensure that every part of life at the station is focused on building opportunities for people in a supportive and accessible environment. Each show is recorded in advance in a relaxed environment and support workers are always on hand with guidance if needed.

For people like Hammad, Radio 119 provides a vital boost of confidence and a regular chance to learn, socialise and speak up about the issues that matter to him. Hammad joined Radio 119 in 2017 with hopes of becoming a radio presenter. Two years on, he’s become one of the team’s most valued interviewers.

Passionate about broadcasting, Hammad seeks out interview opportunities, researches questions and takes a leading role when it’s time to grill his subject. He’s also learned how to edit interviews and best of all, has made a new group of local friends who he now regularly socialises with. Hammad has even had the opportunity to take to the hot seat himself, when he was interviewed on air during Autism Awareness Week!

Hammad says:

“All the interviews we have done this year have been really good. We did an interview on sleep and stress which I thought was fascinating – I learned a lot from it. I really enjoy learning new things and meeting new people.”

Staff and listeners are often in awe at the dedication and commitment of people supported at the station, including Alan, who was one of the first people to join Radio 119 when it launched in 2001. Since then, the radio stalwart has carried out over 450 interviews!

Thanks to his wide breadth of general knowledge and interest in current affairs, 92 year old Alan is heavily involved in sourcing interviewees and researching and devising questions for a regular slot. Alan frequently introduces the show and has also enjoyed interviewing several prominent people during his many years on the radio, including Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh.

Taking on the 12 mile journey from Keighley independently several times a week, Alan attends the station in central Bradford to socialise with friends and take in local events with other Radio 119 team members. As the most senior person at Radio 119, Alan is a role model to others on the team and to visitors and interviewees, who are often amazed at the extent of his achievements.

Alan says:

“I’m proud to work on Radio 119, it’s my favourite thing. I love doing the show, especially meeting new people and seeing my co-workers every week. Introducing the show is always the highlight of my work on the radio.”