Free DAB radios for over 70s as BBC Local Radio aims to Make A Difference

BBC Local Radio is teaming up with manufacturers, retailers and a loneliness charity to offer free DAB radios to the most vulnerable people aged over 70.

It comes as millions of people are forced to stay in their homes and isolate from their friends and families because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Radio is a vital source of news, information and companionship in these unprecedented times and BBC Local Radio wants to ensure as many people as possible have access to it.

So it will be giving away DAB digital radios to people nominated by Local Radio listeners. It’s part of the BBC’s Make A Difference campaign, which was launched in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. It is running across all 39 BBC Local Radio stations in England and is aimed at connecting communities.

The BBC’s partners in the initiative have set a set aside thousands of DAB radios to be given away for free to vulnerable people aged over 70. From Monday March 30, anyone can nominate someone for a free radio by completing an online application form at www.wavelength/radiohero

The radios have been donated by Argos, Currys PC World, John Lewis & Partners, Pure and Roberts Radio and will be distributed by loneliness charity Wavelength, who provide technology to those in need. Manufacturer Duracell UK will provide batteries.

Research commissioned in 2012 for World Radio Day by digital radio brand Pure showed on average one in four people go days without speaking to anyone. With new restrictions on leaving the home and new rules around social distancing, that figure will rise with older people the most affected.

Make a Difference is a coordinated campaign run across all of 39 BBC Local Radio stations in England. It aims to work as a virtual community notice board, linking together those who want to give help with those in need. Since it started, the BBC’s Local Radio stations have been receiving more than 8,000 calls a day from members of the public.

Among those it has helped include Tony, a father of three young children from Nottingham who has terminal lung disease. He called Radio Nottingham to encourage people to stop panic buying. He explained he couldn’t go out shopping because of his condition and was struggling to get online deliveries to his home. The radio station was inundated with offers of help and a local community group delivered Tony vital goods within hours of him calling the station.

In Lincolnshire, a voluntary first responders group rang Radio Lincolnshire to ask for help after they ran out of hand sanitiser. Within minutes of their on air appeal, a local gin distiller offered to convert their distilling process to produce alcohol-based sanitiser for them. They are now supplying the group.

 Further details of the free DAB radio scheme can be found at
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