Swindon 105.5: Radio by the community for the community

Swindon 105.5: Radio by the community for the community

Swindon 105.5

Swindon 105.5

Shortly before Christmas 2014 I paid a visit to  the studios of Swindon 105.5 for a couple of reasons. One was to talk to Shirley Ludford, the station manager, about the money-raising initiative the station was running in December whereby local businesses could, for a very small fee, have a song of their choice played and talk about their business. I was delighted to kick the initiative off on the 1st of December with a chat over the phone about my own business, AA Editorial Services: http://www.aaedits.co.uk I also had a few minutes on the actual radio talking about this here blog.

Aside from those two bits of excitement I certainly learnt quite a lot. Prior to this visit my perception of local radio was of stations whose programming is peppered with advertising for and by local companies and services – and I’d assumed Swindon 105.5 to be the same. I confess I hadn’t listened to it – but then I don’t listen to anything very much. I’m not one of these people that can work with noise in the background. If I’m doing anything requiring any concentration then silence is golden as far I’m concerned. But now, having met Shirley at the station and having done a bit of research on community radio as opposed to local radio, I’m somewhat enlightened.

Ofcom defines community radio as being radio stations that typically cover a small geographic area and that must be run on a not-for-profit basis. The idea for this form of broadcasting was conceived and piloted in 2002 by the then Radio Authority. In 2004, the Radio Authority’s successor, Ofcom issued a consultation on the creation of Community Radio.

While some community stations can carry advertising and sponsorship a small number – where they overlap with small commercial services – may not. And Swindon 105.5 comes into that group. As they say on their website: ‘SWINDON 105.5 is one of only 18 Station in the UK NOT permitted to support itself in any way commercially on air.  The Station Manager successfully invited Minister Ed Vaizey to visit the Station in December 2012 and in July 2014, with support from MP Robert Buckland she was invited to the House of Commons to put the case for a relaxing of the regulations for this Station and the other 17 to ensure more fairness.’ FurthermoreSWINDON 105.5 is a non-commercial radio service in Swindon, by Swindon, for Swindon. Licensed by OFCOM as a Not For Profit community broadcasting organisation, with a specific brief and funded by grants, donations, corporate support, fund-raising events and support in-kind. It’s the only locally-based station that’s broadcasting 24 hours a day and they take no sustaining external service, unlike all other radio services in the region.

Now while I had no real understanding of Swindon 105.5’s status I was vaguely aware, though ignorant of specifics, of the community activities of the station. And as this blog is all about celebrating the positives of the Swindon community here we have this post – cos surely this radio station is a positive for Swindon?

Between them, Shirley Ludford, the station manager, trainer and fund-raiser, and her team have reaped a cornucopia of well-deserved accolades and awards for themselves and the station. You can read more about all of that here: http://www.swindon1055.com/about/index.php but two particular highlights of 2014 were the award to Shirley of the High Sheriff’s award for long service to the community and a visit to the station from HRH the Duke of Kent – 1st cousin to The Queen.

The station prides itself on giving a completely accessible and inclusive service to the town while providing training and volunteering opportunities.

And that’s Shirley something to celebrate? What say you? 🙂 😉

Swindon Viewpoint 40th Anniversary Grand Benefit Concert – via Swindon Link magazine

Swindon Viewpoint 40th Anniversary Grand Benefit Concert.

Swindon Viewpoint,  about whom I have blogged more than once on Born again Swindonian, is 40 years old this year. And, as we all know, 40 is the new 30 – hence there are going to be big celebrations. Follow the link above to Swindon Link magazine’s article about the benefit concert. It promises to be a good ‘do’.

“For four decades the cultural life of Swindon has been documented and archived by a team of hardy souls who are committed to capturing the life of the town on tape (and other more current technical methods).

The music and arts scene particularly has benefited from their work; as gigs, festivals and events have all been captured for posterity and are now available to view on the internet – establishing a fantastic and unique record of the creative history of the town … Swindon’s renowned artist Ken White – who designed posters for music gigs in the 70s and 80s – has provided publicity design … “

BBC – Wiltshire – History – link to some archive films

I saw the link to all these films on Twitter so thought it would be good to share. Not I’ve been able to see any of them myself. I’m an iMac user and I appear not to have the correct plug-in. No comment required! So, to those of you who DO have the requisites plug-ins. Enjoy!

BBC – Wiltshire – History.

Remeber too that Swindon Viewpoint is a good resource for archive film and Swindon local for their Flckr collection.

The Swindon collection

I’ve given mention before to the amazing resource and service that is the Swindon Collection in ‘Digital archives R us’. But I figured it was time to give another, more detailed ‘shout out’ about them.

As it says on their section of the Swindon Borough Council website:

The Swindon Collection: The Swindon Collection of local studies and family history material can be found on the second floor of the Central Library. Staff will be happy to help you begin your search. Additionally, one Monday a month, an archivist from the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre will be available to advise researchers. Please check with Swindon collection staff for future dates.

But there’s more.  The Swindon local collection is the home of the Swindon photostream collection on Flickr:

“In collaboration with the people of Swindon and local history enthusiasts, Swindon Central Library has produced a substantial online library of historical photographs – on the Internet photograph repository, Flickr.

The Swindon Collection Photostream is an ongoing project to publish the history of the Borough of Swindon in photographs.

The collection already includes many thousands of fascinating images – drawn from the library’s collection, the private collections of local residents and enthusiasts, and historical material from Swindon’s commercial institutions of the past and present.”

There are links to various areas of this photostream scattered throughout this blog. It truly is an amazing resource and important record of every aspect of Swindon’s history – something that Swindon should be very proud of.

Just some of the other resources that the Swindon collection can offer are:

  • Complete GRO index of Births, Marriages & Deaths, for the whole of England and Wales (1837-1999).
  • GRO Overseas index.
  • International Genealogical Index (The LDS or Mormon Index).
  • Census records (1841-1901) with surname and street indexes where available.
  • Parish registers, bishops transcripts and surname transcriptions where available (from 1538).
  • Free access to Find My Past Community Edition.
  • All available parish magazines, newsletters and journals, including staff magazines for the Great Western Railway, Wills Tobacco, Garrards and Vickers.

The rest can be found here, on the SBC website. And you can, of course, also find them on Facebook.

About your library | Swindon Libraries & Info. Service

About your library | Swindon Libraries & Info. Service

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Just in case you weren’t aware, the Swindon library service has a rather jolly blog. So this quick press is just to tell you it’s there and is well worth checking out as it’s full of all sorts of interesting and useful information.

About your library | Swindon Libraries & Info. Service.

Below is  some of the information from their ‘About’ page, with opening times and contact info etc, but there’s lots more on there so follow the link above and explore! Then, when you’ve done that go and explore your nearest library. The central library at Regent Circus has a very nice coffee shop, Chapters coffee bar, and a quiet reading area upstairs.

The central library is also the home of Swindon’s tourist information desk: Visit Swindon

“With 15 libraries, plus a mobile and home library service, you are never far away from a wealth of books and useful information resources in Swindon. Our online resources even bring the library to you in the comfort of your own home…

To find out more about Swindon Libraries & Information Service check out www.swindon.gov.uk/libraries  where you can find the opening times and contact details for your local library.

Do you have a query but not sure where to find the answer? Then why not call our Information Helpline on 01793 466454?
This is a free service that enables you to ask an information question to a trained member of staff at Central Library, where there is direct access to a broad range of resources.

This service is available:
Monday–Friday 9.30am–7.00pm
Saturday 10.00am–4.00pm
Sunday 11.00am–3.00pm

You can also contact us by email at: askthelibrary@swindon.gov.uk

If you have a Local Studies or Family History Query then contact us at:localstudies@swindon.gov.uk View pictures from our archives at:http://www.flickr.com/photos/swindonlocal/

We are also on Twitter:

Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SwindonLIS

Textphone users can contact Swindon libraries via Text Relay by inserting the prefix 18001 before the full telephone number … “

Swindon Tourist Information – Things to Do, Events Guide, souvenirs and books

Swindon Tourist Information – Things to Do, Events Guide, souvenirs and books

Just putting this out there from the visit Wiltshire website: “Swindon has its origin as a small market town, used mainly for barter trade until the mid-1800s. The original Swindon is now known as Old Town. Take time to wander through its quiet courtyards and alleyways or enjoy a vibrant mix of traditional shops and pubs alongside modern outlets and stylish cafes and bars. Use our website to find out more about tourist information in Swindon.”

Read the rest by following the this link: Swindon Tourist Information – Things to Do, Hotels, Events Guide.

Swindon’s Visitor Information Centre is the ideal place to start your visit to the town, here you will find a wide range of services to help you make the most of your time here.

Our friendly staff have a wealth of knowledge and experience and will be pleased to help you. And they do what they say on the tin – they are indeed friendly, knowledgeable and helpful.

Our services include:-

  • Tickets for many local and national events (click here to see tickets currently on sale)
  • Bus, Train and Coach Information, we are also booking agents for Barnes Coaches, Hatts Coaches and Peter Carol Travel
  • Theatre Tokens which can be used at many theatres nationwide
  • Brochures on holiday and short break destinations thought the UK
  • Information on Places to visit, What’s on, where to eat, shopping, sports and entertainment
  • We sell a wide range of Books, Maps, Gifts and Souvenirs

Some of the goods available from Swindon tourist information desk

So if you are planning on visiting Swindon make sure the Visitor Information Centre is your first port of call.

Visitor Information Centre, Central Library, Regent Circus, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN1 1QG

Tel +44 (0)1793 466454

Fax +44 (0)1793 434031


Opening hours:

9.30am – 5pm Monday to Friday and 9.30am – 4pm Saturday.

You can also find them on Facebook and of course in the Twittersphere: @visit_swindon

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