Julie Longden is our Community Engagement worker. Her role at BCB is to reach out to marginalized communities and empower them to use their voice. This can be done through using the radio or by creating or finding opportunities where their voices can be heard. This can be a very empowering experience for individuals and groups and we have seen many people really grow their confidence through this process.
Some of the work we have done involves going to community centres and doing live broadcasts with people who use the services. This often allows us to hear from those people who would never be heard on radio because of their situations. For example we often hear from very old people who have mobility issues and who are often isolated and only able to get out because of community centre services. Or we get the voices of volunteers who keep those services going and we get to hear how doing that makes a difference not only to the service users lives but also the volunteers lives. These are the voices of people keeping much of the infrastructure going in the city and it is important that we hear about the work they do.
The other key work we do is to use contacts with marginalized communities to ensure that when we are covering news stories that we have the perspectives of groups and individuals who otherwise would not get the chance to speak. This is so important in terms of including the people with lived experiences of what is being reported on as opposed to a third party commenting on this. This not only gives a real picture of what is going on but it also really builds the confidence and the profile of groups and individuals whose voices would not normally get heard.
Our work is also about really supporting organizations and groups who work with marginalized communities and ensuring that BCB is a resource in any work that is about empowering marginalized communities. Some of this work we have done and are doing is around the Asylum and Refugee groups in the City. We played a key role in supporting the Refugee Day Events this year and invested in the LGBTQ groups. As a result of our work we were able to create a full day of Refugee Radio telling the stories of people with lived experience. In response to that work we have now developed a Refugee Radio Group that is led by people going through the Asylum process.