Wycombe Community Radio CIC runs Wycombe Sound, the local radio station for High Wycombe. Pippa Sawyer, one of the founding directors, describes her experience of the services offered by Community Impact Bucks.

How it all started: Pippa found out about Community Impact Bucks (CIB) very early on in the process of setting up Wycombe Sound. Her initial experience of the services offered was to attend one of the quarterly funding and volunteering advice sessions. Pippa had a one-to-one session very early on, to talk about the right kind of entity to set up to get the radio station off the ground and run it. CIB gave her lots of really valuable information and advice right at the outset.

Also CIB gave Pippa lots on advice on how to recruit and retain volunteers, about what you are and are not allowed to ask people about circumstances, how to keep data safely, how to motivate volunteers, set goals etc. This was a whole new field for Pippa.

Did this support continue? Pippa has made use of those advice sessions repeatedly over the years, each one building on what was delivered in the earlier ones. Pippa attends the Funding Fairs that CIB holds once a year and she generally comes away with new ideas.

One key thing Pippa has learned is rather than simply seeking funding for a particular project, it helps to understand the funders – what sort of thing do they want to contribute to? Is there something that Wycombe Sound needs funding for which would chime with the funder’s objectives? What does Wycombe Sound need to do to present itself as eligible for the money?

Networking opportunities are very valuable, allowing Pippa to meet many other not-for-profit organisations who may come in and be guests on the radio station. Wycombe Sound gets the opportunity to talk to various people to form partnerships for projects for funding applications and so on, all facilitated by CIB.

What about now? Pippa feels that there is now a valuable relationship between the Radio Station and CIB. Wycombe Sound has suggested ideas to CIB for things it can do that would be of help to other members. For example, last year Pippa was invited to run a workshop at the annual conference all about how to use local radio to your advantage, including how to make your story “sing” on local radio and to use an interview opportunity to the full, by getting a copy of the interview and referring to it on social media afterwards. There were 20 people in that workshop and it was fun for Pippa too.

Pippa says that CIB are always welcome to come on the Wycombe Sound at any time. There are so many listeners involved with not-for-profit organisations. Being on the radio gets the message across in a different way to just reading the printed word. You can hear the emotion in people’s voices, you can hear the passion and that has an impact which you just can’t get by reading something that’s written down.

All-in-all, Pippa describes a great two-way relationship with CIB. The Chair of CIB, Mimi Harker, is even a presenter on Wycombe Sound with her own Sunday show.

What next?  Wycombe Sound has not yet taken up CIB’s training for new board members. However, Pippa says that the station is growing, and she is thinking about seeking more advice from CIB as the station grows to the next level.

Wycombe Sound has formed a charity to run alongside the CIC to be an umbrella for the education and training offering that they are developing. They have developed Employment FM which is a training programme – working with another not-for-profit organisation – Building Futures Buckinghamshire. That organisation finds the delegates and Wycombe Sound delivers the programme in conjunction with them – using radio skills as a vehicle for developing employability skills. Pippa describes this as great from everyone’s point of view. They formed a charity as they can get much better value for money on the kit needed to deliver the training (computers and computer software). For their own board, running a charity is something that’s completely new and CIB can help them understand the rules for the charity as they are different to the day-to-day business of the radio station.

A final message on the power of networks: Pippa says that the contacts that she has made as a result of attending CIB events have been invaluable. As she puts it: “You might not do business with each other straight away, but you’ve made that contact and when the time is right, you may well do something together.”


For more information about Wycombe Sound please see its website, which includes contact details if you’d like to volunteer.


Published on November 11, 2019

Image courtesy of St Francis's Children Society