A MAJOR fundraising campaign is set to be launched by a unique radio station based in Bognor Regis.
Radio Respect’s volunteers are gearing up to seek £30,000 of backing for new equipment to enable it to keep broadcasting on the internet.
The radio station is the only one known to be dedicated to mental health and mental wellbeing.
But its joint founder, Chris Collins, said the equipment it had been using since its start was starting to show signs of wear and tear in its fifth year.
“The equipment is still all right but it will not last forever. We are looking for fundraising ideas so we can buy state-of-the-art equipment, which would serve us better,” he said.
“We want to get rid of the ‘gremlins’ in our tech so we can provide a reliable service and reach out to anyone that loves good music, debate, interviews or has any interest in the ever-expanding mental health problems that many face.
“When we started, I either bought the equipment or it was donated to us. We broadcast from 7pm weekdays and stream our music 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But it would be good if we could broadcast live during the daytime.
“We have 60,000 listeners and the number of listeners suffering with mental health problems is phenomenal.”
The radio station is now broadcast around the world from the Radio Respect shop in West Street.
The outlet opened six weeks ago and the broadcasts started three weeks later after a short break to enable the move from its former base in Station Road to be completed.
The story of the radio station began when daycare service worker Chris and his wife, Caroline Collins, started it with a PC and a passion to bring the mental health community closer together, helping people to understand their condition and providing a friendly voice.
Discussions are also held with professionals and listeners from the mental health world.
Chris has funded the station’s activities in its early days but its growth has led to the need for additional support.
Some of this has been provided by the prominence of the new premises.
Much of the floorspace is given over to thousands of secondhand LPs, 45s and cassettes. All genres of music are covered and eagerly bought. That is creating an income and plenty of publicity.
Chris said: “We have been doing really well since we opened. I would say we are getting 20-30 customers a day. People absolutely love the shop.
” We had people coming in as soon as we opened, wanting to know what we were doing.
“So many have said they are very pleased to see a shop selling vinyl back in the town. Having the shop has also made us better known as a radio station. Far more people know what we are doing now.
All genres are covered and popular. “We have a lot of younger people coming in to buy the records. There’s a warmth to music on a vinyl you just don’t get on a CD or download.
“It’s about holding that physical product and the fact the files have not been compressed like they have for other formats,” Chris said.
“And, nine times out of ten, if you buy a double album, you have a work of art when you open the gatefold. Downloading stuff is so sterile in comparision.”
The shop also sells retro equipment on which to play the records. CDs and DVDs are on sale as well. Chris helps in the shop on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
A rota of Radio Respect’s 15 volunteers take charge at other times and help out.
Since starting, Radio Respect has become a community interest company to formalise its status and has linked closely with another CIC, Granddad’s Front Room.
It was the move of Granddad’s Front Room to the High Street which enabled Radio Respect to set up shop in its former premises.