Young people protest to save Wolverhampton’s KicFM

Logo copyright (c) KicFM, Wolverhampton

Young people across the West Midlands are campaigning to save youth organisation Kids In Communication (KicFM) which provides them with valuable media experience and a start to their media and radio careers. Hundreds have been writing to politicians and protesting against the proposed cuts which, inevitably, will mean the closure of the organisation based at Wolverhampton University when its funding is scrapped.

KicFM was founded in 1996 to empower young people marginalised by society using digital media. It has worked with thousands of young people from all types of social, racial and economic backgrounds. KicFM is run by volunteers, engaging them to make decisions that directly affect the content and practices of the station.

Speaking to Jamie Powis, Project Worker for KicFM on behalf of Station Manager Kenny Mach, I was told:

On the 31st March 2011, our funding body (Vinspired) will stop our grant because “…funding for new projects with young volunteers has not yet been made available from the government and in its absence V has no choice but to proceed with closing all its current grant programmes.” Without this funding, KicFM will be forced to close its doors to the 5,000 volunteers the group works with. Kids In Communication are particularly concerned about the government’s plans for the future of young people.

In the Conservatives’ Building A Big Society document it says  “…Social enterprises, charities and voluntary groups can provide personalised public services to some of the most disadvantaged people that state bodies typically fail to reach.” Is the Government failing young people? Young people use Kids In Communication to improve themselves and are fighting to stop this fantastic opportunity from disappearing.

Tej Kaur Rai is a volunteer at KicFM and said:

I discovered KicFM at a time when I badly needed a distraction in my life, and it worked. I am part of the ‘lost generation’, unable to get a job since graduation and all the feelings of worthlessness and disappointment that come with that, completely went away after one day at KicFM.

In a recent discussion, Terry Ryall (the CEO of Vinspired) found the government does not have a strategy for young people:

Last week I met Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society.  It is clear from that meeting, and other discussions with the Office for Civil Society, that they have not yet accepted the need for Government funding of youth volunteering infrastructure. In addition, the future of the match fund is undecided despite the success of this programme and the investment it has leveraged.

Emma Reynolds, MP for Wolverhampton North East, is also supportive of KicFM:

When KicFM wrote to me in January I was extremely disappointed to learn that the government planned to cut their funding. I have been to KicFM several times and greatly value the opportunities they give young people in the local area. I wrote to the government to highlight the good work that this project does for young people and urged them to reconsider the plans. If this is what the government means by ‘Big Society’ it’s pretty clear that people in Wolverhampton don’t want it. The voluntary sector need to be supported for the vital work they do in our communities, and I hope that KicFM can continue offering opportunities to our young people.




About Cuts, News and Views

The site’s author is a student at the Birmingham School of Media and a journalist for both Birmingham Budget Cuts and Sony Music Entertainment. He is a PR consultant as well as having worked for the BBC. The author also contributes on a freelance basis to The Times and The Guardian. Dean Hill is a member of The Chartered Institute of Public Relations.

Posted on February 27, 2011, in Budget Cuts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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