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UK’s first radio station run by homeless youngsters launches today

Sound Judgement kicks off with the first of a series of weekly podcasts aiming to give homeless people a voice on the airwaves and boost their broadcasting skills

The UK’s first radio station run by homeless people will begin broadcasting today to give homeless people a sustained voice on the airwaves.

Billing themselves as the ‘art school for homeless’, organisers Accumulate will kick off the station, Sound Judgement, with a series of six weekly podcasts discussing a range of topics from mental health to education.

The first podcast, which is available now, sees London youngsters discussing whether they became homeless because of choices they made or if it was by chance.

It is hoped that the pioneering project will give a voice to an often-underserved section of society as well as giving the homeless DJs and production staff a boost to their broadcasting skills.

The youngsters have been honing those skills for a few months through courses held by the charity with help from industry experts and guest speakers.

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Accumulate also partnered with tutors from Ravensbourne University London to share their digital expertise while students helped with branding and visualisation.

Accumulate founder Marice Cumber said: “It has been amazing to see how far this group have come since our first taster sessions in the hostels to now when our group are pitching their subject ideas to industry professionals.

“Each member of the group’s confidence and self-esteem has grown week on week, empowering them to have a more positive outlook.”

Accumulate is now looking to create a news service podcast that will be run by people affected by homelessness and will provide updates on activities, training and support available to the homeless community.

But the radio station is not the only arts project that Accumulate is working on this year to help homeless people tell their stories. They are also set to launch the first-ever graphic novel put together entirely by and about homeless people this summer.

And The Big Issue is also giving homeless people a chance to broadcast on the radio – we have teamed up with Boogaloo Radio for vendors to host a weekly slot on Tuesday mornings. As well as manning the mic and sharing their stories, vendors also curate the music playlist, giving a unique insight into their lives behind the tabard.

Images: Ben Peters and Sam Holt

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