A radio show produced by the homeless to tell their stories, their way

Scheduled to be aired in October this year, arts charity Accumulate has received funding from Nesta’s Amplified programme for a radio show that will be produced by London’s homeless people

Accumulate participants at the pilot programme where they were introduced to broadcast journalism, Photograph by James Light

In October last year Nesta launched its Amplified programme; a fund to help creativity for good. Cultural and creative organisations, both not-for-profit and commercial, were invited to pitch ‘digital ideas that improve the lives of others. Nesta put together a panel of industry experts to help evaluate and select projects which would receive the funding.

Earlier this month, Nesta revealed the 13 projects selected to receive the £13,000 grant. Over the next 12 months, this money will go towards developing the selected ideas. This will be accompanied by advisory support from mentors with relevant experience, workshops and guidance from Nesta.

One of the organisations to receive funding is Accumulate, an arts charity we have written about before on CR. Accumulate empowers London’s young homeless people by teaching them the arts, mainly photography, and through a carefully structured training programme which helps participants move towards building a career in the creative industries. In the five years since it was founded, beautiful things have come out of the Accumulate project, including a magazine called Decay, created by residents of London’s hostels, a scholarship programme which allows selected Accumulate participants the chance to study at Ravensbourne University and much more.

Photograph by James Light
Photograph by James Light

Accumulate’s winning pitch is for a ‘Radio Station for the Homeless’. Accumulate founder Marice Cumber says the idea came to her while listening to the radio. “I was listening to a radio programme which had a feature on homelessness and it became apparent to me that it was always the “non-homeless” that were making the programmes about the “homeless” and I thought about the message there,” she recounts. She believed it should be the homeless telling their own stories and sharing their own experiences. Cumber approached Ravensbourne with the idea, and the university agreed to partner with the charity to help create the radio show. Now all they needed was the funds for a structured programme to help with skills training and, of course, the equipment, editing software and so on. That’s where Amplified came in.

With the help of the grant Accumulate will run a training programme over the summer which will culminate in the launch of a podcast in October 2019. While the content will be produced by homeless people, it won’t all be about social issues, Cumber tells us. “It will be diverse and creative content made and broadcast by people affected by homelessness – their music, their stories, their spoken word, their poetry, their interviews and programmes about the issues that matter to them,” she says.

In April 2020 we can expect a public showcase of the Amplified programme, where Nesta will share work done over the year by all 13 organisations, including Accumulate.

nesta.org.uk, accumulate.org.uk