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Community Voice FM (CVFM), a Middlesbrough based local radio station, has benefitted from a grant of almost £5,000 from the North of England’s gas distributor Northern Gas Networks (NGN).

The project will educate and inform the local community on a range of issues to do with energy efficiency, fuel poverty, using fuel more effectively, health messages including carbon monoxide awareness and promoting the Priority Services Register (PSR).

This will be done by using their volunteers from a range of backgrounds to record information messages for broadcast, hold on air discussions, create short dramas and broadcast them in different community languages.

Idrees Rashid, Director at CVFM Radio, said: “We’re delighted to have received a grant from Northern Gas Networks. Run by volunteers, we aim to deliver a range of subject in a variety of different languages, such as Urdu, Pashto, Arabic and Bengali, to ensure the local community are aware of a number of subjects that affect them day to day.

“We’ll be able to use this funding to produce a number of different broadcasts and messages that will inform local communities about energy efficiency, the Priority Service Register and the dangers of carbon monoxide in a variety of different languages.”

Tom Bell, Head of Social Strategy at Northern Gas Networks, said: “Northern Gas Networks are really pleased to be able to offer Community Voice FM a grant as part of our Community Promises Fund. As part of the application the judging panel felt that this project would have a good reach in the community and provide a low-cost, effective way to raise awareness to many different communities whose first language might not be English.

“As well as the grant we’ll also be supporting the radio station, and the other organisations who have been awarded a grant, with any other support they might need; such as volunteering opportunities advice or how they can share best practice with one another.

“Community groups, and other local organisations, play a fundamental role in helping to identify and assist those who are in need and I’m very much looking forward to working with them on their exciting projects and their efforts to help make a difference to local people’s lives.”

Community Voice FM received the grand as part of NGN’s £50,000 Community Promises Fund.

The fund, which is now in its second year, offers grants of between £1,000 and £10,000 to third sector organisations and community groups with innovative approaches to delivering sustainable initiatives associated with energy saving, fuel poverty, Carbon Monoxide awareness, raising the profile of the Priority Services Register (PSR) and STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects across areas of the north of England.

After applying at the end of last year, the nine projects benefiting from the 2018 funding programme are: Age UK in Gateshead, Citizen Advice in Newcastle, Community Voice FM Ltd in Cleveland, Hartlepower C.I.C. in Hartlepool, Highfield Food Co-op in Keighley, National Energy Action, Stockton and District Advice, Information Service (SDAIS), The Canopy Housing Project in Leeds and Yorkshire Energy Doctor CIC.

The community projects include a whole host of innovative campaigns, from supporting vulnerable people with dementia access the Priority Service Register (PSR) to organising Carbon Monoxide (CO) awareness sessions and provide information on being more energy efficient.

Anyone that smells gas or suspects carbon monoxide should call the National Gas Emergency Service immediately on 0800 111 999. This line is in operation 24-hours a day, seven days a week.