Northumberland Hospital Radio celebrates 50 years of broadcasting

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Northumberland Hospital Radio, which broadcasts to patients in Northumberland and North Tyneside, is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary.

The charity station broadcasts 24/7 for patients and staff at the region’s hospitals with a mix of music, news, and talk radio, and can be accessed for free via patients’ bedside entertainment units.

Station director Iain Miles, who first joined the station as a volunteer in 1985, said: “We are over the moon to be celebrating 50 years of NHR. Hospital radio still provides a unique and important service that plays a valuable role in the patient experience.

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“Being in hospital can be a difficult and stressful time. By providing a light entertainment music and information service, we give patients a welcome distraction to help pass the time.”

The station received a £5,000 grant from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s Bright Northumbria charity in celebration of the anniversary, which will be used to replace ageing equipment and expand services.

Ian said: “I have been with the charity for 39 years and it has been amazing to see the station grow from the days of only broadcasting to the old Ashington Hospital in West View to a service that covers all hospitals in Northumberland and North Tyneside.

“The generous donation from Bright Northumbria will allow us to replace equipment we brought with us from the old Ashington Hospital to Wansbeck over 20 years ago and help with planned expansion of the service we offer patients and staff.”

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The station was founded in 1974, then called Radio Wansbeck, with a £100 grant. In 2000 it expanded its programming to a 24-hour service with the introduction of an automated PC system, an innovation at the time.

The station was gifted £5,000 by Northumbria Healthcare's charity to celbrate the milestone. (Photo by Bright)The station was gifted £5,000 by Northumbria Healthcare's charity to celbrate the milestone. (Photo by Bright)
The station was gifted £5,000 by Northumbria Healthcare's charity to celbrate the milestone. (Photo by Bright)

The service moved into a new studio at Wansbeck General Hospital in early 2003. Although Northumberland Hospital Radio is an independent registered charity, it is also part of Northumbria Healthcare’s voluntary service.

Robert Graham, head of Bright Northumbria, said: “Being in hospital can be a scary time and services like Northumberland Hospital Radio provide patients with some relief and a form of distraction.

“Its success is a testament to the hard work of our brilliant volunteers.

Volunteers provide an important service within Northumbria Healthcare and we are incredibly grateful for their generosity and continued support.”

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