How Radio in Harrow brings the Community Together

Written for London360 in March 2016:

I’ve been a part of the Radio industry since University and it was a natural step to go onto the next level with Radio Northwick Park in Harrow (Northwest London) which was a Hospital Radio Station. I left in 2015 before they merged with a Community Radio station call to form Radio Harrow which still based at Northwick Park Hospital. It was until earlier this year I found out they had been nominated for two awards at the Hospital Broadcast Association (HBA) Awards Ceremony which will be held in Watford, Hertfordshire on the 19th March 2016.

This gave me an opportunity to visit the station on the 25th February 2016 to film a feature on how important they are to the local community of Harrow. I was given access to film their Patients’ Hour Show at the hospital and how they prepare for it too. The show was full of stories and music which were chosen by the Patients. There were also interesting conversations about the BRITS Awards Ceremony, old technology such as vinyl record players making a comeback and the issue of sugar in our food and drinks.

I interviewed the co-founding trustee of Radio Harrow Matt Blank, Volunteer Liaisons Manager Miles Otway and the Studio Manager for the Patients’ Hour Show Amit Pall. All three of them talked about how important the station is to the community by engaging with them, having a befriending service and a dynamic volunteer team. They are open to everyone who wants to join them and have people who are either still at school, doing their A Levels, at University or even retired. Even though they do focus on Radio, there are roles which just involve talking to people at events and visiting the patients on the wards (part of the befriending service).

The volunteers I interviewed were lively and passionate about why they are at the station. They also told me about the funny stories when talking to the patients on the wards. One story which I was told and fondly remember was that there were two patients in the same ward who were in due to both due to having a stroke and recovering. Both patients were the same age and had a love for playing the piano. The volunteers really wanted them both to meet up and talk to each other because they had a similar background and story.

I also had an opportunity to film the show before the Patients’ Hour where the two co-hosts had a musician as a guest. There are so many different shows at the station but the most important is the where the patients are the main focus for 7 hours in a week. I fondly remember my time at the station when it was Radio Northwick Part but I’m glad to see they are moving forward and bringing the community of Harrow together.

With regards to the two nominations for at the HBA Awards, they are optimistic about winning and despite being less than a year old are proud of their achievements so far. The two nominations were for Station Promotion and Special Event which was their ‘Radio Harrow On Tour’ promotion and coverage of ‘The Colon Challenge’ with the St. Mark’s Hospital Foundation.

Finally, I do hope they keep on continuing the great work done so far and keep on bringing other parts of the community of Harrow together.


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