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From the Derby Evening Telegraph, 29/09/2007, article by Zena Hawley.

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Airwaves in the Chaddesden area will be quieter in the future after the demise of the occasional community radio station Derwent FM.

The station broadcast twice a year and was manned by residents who had taken part in a training programme aiming to improve their numeracy and literacy.

Derwent Media Training Unit was set up in 2003 to provide basic courses and build up confidence.

Students polished their skills over 12 weeks and finally went live on air for a month broadcasting on 87.9FM.

It was given £240,000 funding from Derwent New Deal for Communities, the European Social Fund and Derbyshire Learning and Skills Council.

The funding was for two years, but it kept the station going longer than expected. That money has now run out.

An application for Lottery funding is still outstanding but the acting manager, Ollie Hand, a former student, thinks it is now time for the project to end.

He said: "The future is uncertain regarding funding. Although we have applied to the Big Lottery Fund, we won't know until mid-November. The chances of gaining a grant are slim, with only one in five applications being successful.

"By finishing now, the project ends as a success and we are not letting down new students."

Over the four years, more than 100 people have taken part in the project and there have been seven community broadcasts.

Mr Hand added: "If we are successful in getting funding, then I will have another look at the situation and see what my circumstances are."

The training unit began life at da Vinci Community College but was forced to move out when the school was demolished and rebuilt in 2005.

In early 2006, it found a new home at Derwent Community School, in St Mark's Road, just days before Derwent FM was due to go live.

Mr Hand, 25, of Borrowash, was one of the first people to graduate from the course and gave up his former job as a chef to work on the project. He took over the management after the founder, Andy Potter, left to work for BBC Radio Derby.

Mr Hand added: "It's been a fantastic experience and, who knows, the whole thing may be resurrected one day."

Another graduate from the course in 2003 was Stephanie Meadows, from Morley, who was shortly afterwards snapped up for daytime television.

She presented Houses Behaving Badly and Car Booty after sending a tape to the BBC.

She said: "Without the course, I wouldn't have been able to build up the confidence and ability to be able to face cameras.

"It was great for making new friends and feeling part of a team."

Students currently completing the course will still have their work assessed by Derby College before the closure on November 1.

 
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