Radio plays a vital role in helping to address loneliness, offering companionship and connection to listeners across the UK. Local radio from the BBC, commercial radio and community radio stations plays a unique role in connecting listeners and providing local information, entertainment and support. This was recognised by the joint government and industry Digital Radio and Audio Review, which highlighted evidence from WaveLength (a charity which gives media technology to lonely people living in poverty) showing that people feel less lonely after receiving a radio.
In December 2020, as part of a £7.5 million funding package to help those most at risk of loneliness during the coronavirus pandemic, and in recognition of the value of local radio in particular in addressing loneliness, the Government provided £500,000 of support to local radio stations. £200,000 was made available through the Community Radio Fund to support community radio stations that were taking steps to tackle loneliness and isolation within their localities. £300,000 was made available through the Audio Content Fund to support independent producers making programmes targeted at alleviating loneliness for commercial and community stations.
We will continue to explore ways in which we can continue to support the valuable work done by local radio broadcasters within their communities.