Get ready for five more years with the Girls Around Town!

Although your favourite show is off air at the moment, as Newark and the rest of the UK headed towards the eighth week of lockdown there was good news for the town, Radio Newark – 107.8FM and the Girls Around Town

After five years broadcasting live 24 hours a day, seven days a week from its purpose-built studios at Barnby Road Academy, the station has now been awarded a second five-year licence by Ofcom, securing its future all the way to 2025.

Which means that as soon as lockdown restrictions are lifted JuneRosalynRachel and Claire will be back in the studio between 10am and 12 noon every Sunday, chatting to lots of lovely guests and keeping their equally lovely listeners entertained and informed for a very long time to come!

Watch this space to find out when they’ll be back on air and, in the meantime, find out what two of the station’s directors had to say when they spoke to June about the new licence and what it means for the whole team, the town and the local community.

First up it’s technical director Phil Johnson, who began by looking back to the station’s beginnings. “As someone who’s worked in local radio for many years, when I moved to Newark I was keen to explore the possibility of setting up a new community station within the town,” he said.

“The idea very quickly became a reality after a conversation with the then headmaster of Barnby Road Academy at a parents’ evening. Within weeks, we’d accepted his generous offer to set up a studio in the school and started to recruit a team of experienced presenters ready to take to the airwaves as soon as we were given the nod by Ofcom.”

Almost a year to the day after trial broadcasting began in November 2013, Radio Newark – 107.8 FM was granted its first five-year licence and full time broadcasting began on Saturday 2 May 2015.

“Since then, it’s been a roller-coaster of a ride for everyone involved,” added Phil. “We’ve had our ups and downs of course but through it all the unwavering support we’ve had from so many organisations and individuals has ensured we’ve achieved what we set out to do and created a station that is truly at the heart of the community.

“Installing a new transmitter in the tower of Newark’s parish church has extended and improved our reach locally while the development of two free apps has enabled us to increase engagement across the country and the world, with over 70,000 unique listeners tuning in online to the FM station and the commercial station Radio Newark DAB  last year alone.“

A member of the board of directors since it all began, former Mayor of Newark Tony Roberts was appointed managing director of the station last year. “From the very start, I’ve seen first-hand just how much hard work and dedication everyone has put into giving the town a radio station of which it can be proud,” he said.

“Whether they’re presenting excellent live shows on air, providing valuable business and technical support, working with local businesses to help promote the town, engaging with children from local schools or taking part in a wide range of events, they’re all passionate about what they do and why they do it.

“It’s no coincidence that one of the one of the phrases most often associated with the station, heard regularly on air and used in many of its promotions, is ‘We Love Newark’. Those three words sum up perfectly not only their own feelings about the town and the station but also their dedication to inspiring the same pride in Newark among its businesses and residents.

“Spurred on by the news of the second five-year licence, which comes at what is for all of us such an unsettled time, it’s great to have a brighter future on which to focus. The directors are already exploring different ways to build on past successes by working even more closely with the community, especially where local schools and families are concerned

“I’m immensely proud to have been part of what we’ve achieved so far and, along with everyone else involved, I look forward to helping to build on that success in the years to come.”

The board of directors all paid tribute to everyone involved, thanking not only the 18 volunteers who between them gave 6,960 hours of their time over the past 12 months alone but also the school, the district and town councils, local businesses, St Mary Magdalene parish church, guests taking part in several of the shows and listeners in Newark and beyond, whose continuing support has helped the station to achieve its aims over the last five years.

Like them, the Girls Around Town have their eyes firmly fixed on the future and they’re raring to go – make sure you’re ready to join them on 107.8FM when the next leg of the journey begins!

A shedload of opportunities

One for the guys out there next weekend, when June and Rachel will be talking about men and sheds – or, to be more precise, about men IN sheds…

For many chaps (Rachel’s husband Dean included!), a shed at the bottom of the garden is a favourite place to escape to for a bit of peace and quiet. But did you know that more than 11,000 men across the UK head to a shed for precisely the opposite reason?

Like John Nelson and Dez Williams, who’ll be joining the Girls Around Town on Sunday, they’re all Men in Sheds, a nationwide group supported by the UK Men’s Sheds Organisation, which was founded in 2013 to help raise awareness of the social and health benefits of Men’s Sheds in reducing isolation and loneliness and in empowering local communities.

Over the last five years, the number of sheds up and running has grown from around 30 to more than 460, with another 133 currently in development. And for those 11,000-plus Shedders, they’re places where they can share experiences, knowledge and skills while making friends for life with others who share interests and a common purpose.

It gives me a reason to get up in the morning… I feel a sense of worth and love the way all of the men work together

Tune in or listen online between 10am and 12 noon to hear John and Dez explain why they joined the Collingham Shed, what they and their fellow members get up to there and, above all, the difference being Shedders has made to their lives.

And, if you’re a man without a shed, to find out how to join them or track down a Shed near you…

Catching up with Carriages

Time for another catch up on Girls Around Town next weekend, when Wendy Baird and Suzie Jones join June and Rachel to share some of the highlights of the nine months that have flown by since Carriages Café first opened its doors in Newark last August…

Nominated in the Best New Venue category of the prestigious Nottinghamshire Food & Drinks Awards for 2018 (watch this space for details of when and how to vote later in the year!), Carriages has quickly become a popular spot for meetings, leisurely lunches and afternoon teas, as well as the perfect place to grab a takeaway coffee and snack while waiting for a train.

It’s also been home to wide range of events, with cupcakes on Valentine’s Day, a Christmas Fair and a Syrian-themed evening just a small sample of what’s been on the menu recently. And its Community Café is now a firm favourite with customers who want to meet old friends and make new ones while enjoying a three-course meal for just £3 every Wednesday evening and – if they wish – give others the chance to eat or drink free at Carriages by taking part in the Pay It Forward scheme.

Tune in or listen online between 10am and 12 noon on Sunday for news too of  what’s in store for the months to come – including Carriages‘ involvement in the Newark Book Festival and in the Newark line-up of this year’s Open Studios Notts, when visitors will be able to see Suzie working in situ on one of her whimsical pieces of artwork…