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Chris Jones, chief executive of the City & Guilds Group and Sally Eley, Director of Corporate Relations and leader of the Princess Royal Training Awards team visited 2017 award recipients East Coast FM last week. They were invited to take part in their morning chat show live on the air to talk about the award.

East Coast FM is a community radio station based on the outskirts of Edinburgh which is doing some fantastic work in enabling any member of their community to develop their skills in radio – both the broadcasting and technical sides. They really do focus on ability and not disability, and they have made inclusivity a reality and not just a mantra. For these reasons we awarded them the first special commendation for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the 2017 awards. And given that that they broadcast 24 / 7, they provide their community with an excellent service. We had heard about their School Bell programme run in conjunction with a local school, and visiting them made us realise the scale of their work and the boundless energy of their CEO, Ian Robertson who interviewed us.

After the interview we were introduced to Gillian, who is blind, and Flora, Gillian’s guide dog who were just about to start the next show. It was a humbling experience to see Gillian operate all the technical elements required for presenting a live radio show with such ease. Truly inspiring stuff.

The model that East Coast FM has developed which makes it possible for anyone to ‘believe they can’ is something which surely can be replicated elsewhere. We are looking to see if there is a way in which we can add value by offering further help or support as they are keen to extend their work to support 17-21 year olds who are disengaged from any welfare support, so they can get valuable work experience, which will hopefully be a stepping stone to a job.

For more information about East Coast FM see their entry on our Awards 2017 page.

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