An unused part of Liden Library will be brought back to life after Swindon Borough Council agreed to lease it to a well-known community organisation.
Swindon 105.5 will take over part of the building in Barrington Close, Liden, after spending several months looking for a new home. The station is making final preparations for occupation from January 1.
The Council invited bids for the vacant premises last month and Swindon 105.5 was chosen as the preferred bidder after indicating they would like to work with the library service to increase library provision. This will be the subject of discussions.
The community radio station, which was awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service by the Duke of Kent last year, broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week from its current home at The Bentley Centre in Stratton Road, and has helped hundreds of volunteers of all ages develop skills and confidence.
Some of those volunteers have gained employment, gone on to higher education, run courses and training for community groups and provided placements for schoolchildren, college and university students. The current ages of those involved range from 11 to 74.
Swindon 105.5 mentors young adults with special educational needs and also runs grant-funded projects with the latest about to start in the New Year with women who have been in abusive relationships.
The Council has granted an interim Tenancy at Will to allow the radio station to carry out relocation work and enable the team to set up transmission facilities during the move process to avoid going off-air whilst a formal lease agreement is drawn up.
Cllr Garry Perkins, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Libraries, said: “Swindon 105.5 does a fantastic job within the community of Swindon and I am really pleased we have been able to accommodate them so they can continue their work.
“This move makes perfect sense for the radio station as part of the library is not being used and we hope we can form an even closer working relationship and so the existing library provision can be improved.”
Shirley Ludford, Station Manager and trainer, said: “Swindon 105.5 is at the heart of the community and this challenge to relocate from our current premises has seen individuals, community groups and businesses coming forward to help, raise funds, assist with set-up in Liden, carry out essential work and help with the physical move.
“Volunteers have been well engaged and after a lot of planning we are now mid move. This latest chapter in the history of the town’s community radio service will lead us to engaging even further with the wider community, the local authority and the library service itself.
“We look forward to bringing more life to the building and welcome calls from anyone interested in hearing more about our regionally unique service or getting involved.”
Picture caption: Swindon 105.5 Station Manager Shirley Ludford at the main Production Suite which will shortly become the hub of the radio station based in Liden. Visits from local people will be encouraged to see round the town’s community radio station.