Radio station aims to give voice to disabled people

An internet radio station produced by and for people with disabilities is celebrating 10 years of broadcasting.

Able Radio started life as an in-house production in Cwmbran, Torfaen in 2006.

Two years later it was broadcasting 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

General manager Rob Symons says it aims to give a voice to people with disabilities, adding: “The experience is a good way of developing people’s self-esteem, confidence and communication.

“The key factor is that everyone who works on air has some sort of impairment or disability.

“We have a lot of people who come here with learning disabilities who are very passionate about radio and music so they get involved on air.

“We also have people with mobility impairments and it’s all about playing off everyone’s strengths.”

Although it is difficult to track listener figures on the internet, Able Radio has around two thousand regular followers on social media.

Dan Hiley, who is part of the station’s flagship programme The Cool Crew At Noon, said: “We have music, we do ‘This Day in History’, I do a poem and I also do my telebox review – what listeners would like to watch on TV.”

The skills gained by those working on the radio programmes have been so beneficial that Able now runs training courses and a day centre to give others similar opportunities.

Debbie Nash says attending the centre has made a big difference to her life.

“I like doing arts and craft, I like going on the laptops and also I catch a bus here on my own which I couldn’t do before,” she said.

“It’s made me more independent.”

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