Community radio station makes positive difference to people’s lives across Dacorum

Radio Dacorum is a service provided by Community Action Dacorum

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 3:51 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 3:52 pm

A community radio station in Dacorum has been making a positive difference to people's lives across the borough.

Radio Dacorum, a service provided by Community Action Dacorum, brings local music, chatter and information.

Behind the scenes community radio is working to make a positive difference to people’s lives across Dacorum by providing support and services to those who need it.

Music for Memory Presenter – Matt Hatton
Music for Memory Presenter – Matt Hatton

One example of this is Paul*. Paul lives with autism; he also lives with his gran and like many neuro-diverse people, social interactions are a challenge for Paul and his world feels different to others.

Radio Dacorum received a call from Paul’s gran asking if he could volunteer with the station.

The problem was that Paul was unable to talk to the team directly on the phone and his gran was the go between.

A few reasonable adjustments later and Paul joined the team as a producer, setting up music on the computers and preparing them for the on-air team to broadcast.

Radio Dacorum Events Team

That was until the day that the presenter did not turn up. On that day, and with a little nervous laughter, Paul stepped up to broadcast and he found that a radio studio is a great place for him.

He could control the volume, who was in the room, what happened around him and yet was speaking to thousands of people he did not know.

Nine months later, thanks to the confidence he had gained by broadcasting his regular show, Paul got a customer facing job in one of the shops in the Marlowes.

The biggest impact was on his gran, who for the first time felt that Paul 'would be okay' when she was no longer around.

Another way that Radio Dacorum makes a difference to local residents is through the programming that is broadcast being tailored to truly reflect very local needs.

On Wednesday lunch times, Radio Dacorum’s 'Music for Memory' show is aimed at helping people who live with dementia and the show is played in care homes.

Music is chosen to stimulate the memory and mixed in with local requests from the care homes staff and residents.

Talking straight to the listener, Matt Hatton presents the music as if he is in the same room.

He said: “I started the program for my Dad really, we were out on a drive and I noticed that when the oldies came on the radio he would light up and sing along, it was like having him back again in all his glory."

Matt was inspired to share this with more people and so devised a show that would make a difference to people.

He said: “It’s been a great success. I love getting requests from the residents and because Radio Dacorum has such a wide range of music in our database, I can usually play anything I’m asked for.”

Dr. Rachel Daly, a nurse specializing in dementia care, said: "Many people living with dementia have strong memories of when they were younger. Music can be a powerful tool for unlocking and stimulating these memories.”

Radio Dacorum also helps share to date and accurate information about the vaccination program, with hard-to-reach communities across Hertfordshire.

Linda Nateghi, the manager of Community Action Dacorum’s Covid Information Champions project, said: “There are a number of communities that we have found difficult to work with when using printed materials.

“Through our regular Tuesday lunchtime show, we have been able to speak to around 10,000 people and allay some of their fears about being vaccinated. This means more people are safer thanks to Radio Dacorum.”

Dr. Tup Dutta, a retired GP and Covid information champion, said: “There is so much information available through the internet that it is important for us to ensure we all have the best information available to make informed decisions.

"This is why I have been proud to be a part of these shows to answer people’s questions about the vaccine and why I applaud Jim (McManus – Director of Public Health in Hertfordshire) for commissioning the shows."

Simon Aulton, chief executive of Community Action Dacorum, said: "We are very proud of Radio Dacorum and all the volunteer presenters that make it so special.

"Not only is it informing, educating, and entertaining, but it is also having a first-hand impact on people who listen or join in. Who could ask for more than that?”

If you would like to get involved with Radio Dacorum, as a presenter, producer or listener, visit the Radio Dacorum website. You can also book Radio Dacorum to enhance

your event by contacting our events team at [email protected].

* Paul’s name has been changed to protect his identity.