Maddy volunteers as a regular presenter on Wycombe Sound and loves the whole experience.
What is your volunteer role? I co-present a Monday afternoon radio programme with a focus on health and wellbeing. I also occasionally contribute to other pieces of work and if I have an idea for something else I want to do, I talk to Pippa about it (I am currently working on a new proposal).
How long have you been volunteering on that role? Ever since the station got its full licence – nearly 3 years.
What prompted you to volunteer? I was invited – a colleague was already presenting and suggested that I should come in and meet Pippa. So I did. I’d recently retired, and world was my oyster as regards things to do. I came in with a completely different idea about a programme that I might do but Pippa (very wisely) put me together with another presenter, Tracey, to present on a theme of health and wellbeing.
What is your time commitment? I spend three hours every Monday afternoon presenting the show itself. There’s not much preparation time needed now. To start with was much more but now there’s another volunteer who acts as the show’s producer and also, now that the show is established, Tracey and I find that people are keen to come on and be interviewed. It’s is not onerous. The show picks up on current health stories in the headlines and other topical themes.
What do you enjoy most? I love meeting people. There’s a lovely atmosphere at the station and always someone new in. I feel part of a team. Because no-one is paying me to do this, if I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t do. It helps me develop my own interests. I have a voice on a successful community radio station – how many people have that? It is a real privilege.
What is most challenging part of the role? Some of the topics I’d like to discuss are not deemed suitable for daytime radio broadcast. That can be frustrating. It is a commitment, but is not as bad as it might be, because there are two of us presenting the show and we can cover for one another.
What difference does your volunteering make to others? There are two groups – those inside Wycombe Sound and the listeners. Inside: I’m a good team member and supportive to rest of team here. Both Tracey and I have agreed to be trustees of new charity and I think I add energy to the team. Guests on the show appreciate the opportunity to make their voices heard. For the listeners: friends will say “I’ve listened to you” – the choice of topics is very relevant. Hopefully wider listeners also find the programme interesting.
Would you recommend volunteering to others? Yes, definitely. I really marvel at the fantastic opportunity to land in my lap at my age – to learn a new skill like this. I feel a real sense of accomplishment that I can ‘drive a desk’ and cope if something goes wrong during the broadcast.
An opportunity to learn new skills like that – it’s like gold dust and there are opportunities at Wycombe Sound to do so many other fantastic things behind the scenes. There’s something for everyone here. It’s not glamorous – very workmanlike – you get stuck in and everyone contributes in a real way.
Any final points? Everyone here is very welcoming to people with additional needs. I am impressed with the very positive atmosphere here which is nurturing to everyone.
For more information about Wycombe Sound please see its website, which includes contact details if you’d like to volunteer.