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103 The Eye community radio station receives King’s Award for Voluntary Service

Community radio station 103 The Eye which broadcasts across the Vale of Belvoir has gained The King’s Award for Voluntary Service.

This is the highest award a local voluntary group can receive in the UK – equivalent to an MBE – and comes just a few days after the station celebrated its 18th birthday.

The station which is operated entirely by volunteers was the first in the UK to launch under the new tier of community radio licensed by OFCOM in 2005. It has been on air 24/7 ever since then, broadcasting music, news and features on 103 FM and can also be heard online and via smart speakers.

The King’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by local volunteer groups to benefit their communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee and, following his accession, His Majesty King Charles III emphasised his desire to continue the Award.

Recipients are announced annually on 14th November, The King’s Birthday and 103 The Eye is one of 262 local charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups in the UK to receive the prestigious award this year.

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It highlights the ways in which volunteers are contributing to the local community and working to make life better for those around them.

As well broadcasting a wide variety of programmes of local interest, ranging from sport to business news, 103 The Eye provides media training and helps charities and public service organisations to promote their activities.

It takes part in many events using its soundstage and pop-up outside broadcast studio, enabling local people to have their voices heard.

Local schools have the opportunity to get material they have produced on the air and the station also enables unsigned bands and singers to have their music heard by a wide audience.

103 The Eye has helped more recently established community radio stations in other parts of the country with information and advice on administrative, technical and operational matters. It has held several networking days in Melton to encourage stations to work together for mutual support.

The station is managed by directors Christine Slomkowska and Patrick McCracken and the team consists of more than 30 presenters and engineering / technical support personnel..

Christine said:: “We are delighted that our team’s dedicated work has been recognised in this way. We are all volunteers who work tirelessly to keep 103 The Eye on the air for the good of the community.

“It isn’t easy to keep a community radio station running in these challenging times and we would like to thank everyone who has helped 103 The Eye over the years – from volunteers and advertisers/sponsors to listeners, the transmission site owners, and others who support us in many different ways.

Patrick added: “The station has had a very positive impact. Some of our past presenters who learnt broadcasting here have gone on to paid work in the sector and 103 The Eye has changed people’s lives..

“It’s important to have a local radio service these days when many of the big stations are merging their programming. We look forward to continuing our work and we have some exciting plans for the future.”.

Representatives of 103 The Eye will receive the award crystal and certificate from Leicestershire Lord Lieutenant Mike Kapur at a ceremony on a date to be arranged. Two volunteers from the station will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace next summer, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.

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