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"Give it up for youth radio!"

Friday 12th September 2008

This summer a group of teenagers from High Wycombe volunteered to take part in a radio project, during the month of Ramadan. The focus of the project centred around an issue close to these young peoples' lives: substance misuse.

Radio Ramadan which links up to a local FM radio station during the month long festivity  was set up as a project by the Bucks Drug and Alcohol Action Team.

FM Radio Ramadan, which celebrates its third year in High Wycombe, broadcasts in other counties around the UK, such as Edinburgh, Birmingham and Manchester.

In High Wycombe 26 excited volunteers, aged between 14 and 16, signed up to this radio project, the majority of whom were young asian muslims.

In August, all volunteers received training on substance misuse and radio programme production techniques. The teenagers were then given the chance to interview, for the radio, a number of people involved in the drugs and crime field. Participants in the radio broadcasts included the police, charities such as Addaction and SMART, the fire service, people with direct experiences of substance abuse, prison officers and young teenagers.

Lee Scrafton, Senior Practitioner for SMART Aylesbury, kindly took time out to be interviewed by two young 'radio DJs' on the Radio Ramadan project. He spoke later about the interview:

"I think this project is very worthwhile for the young people of High Wycombe; they get a lot more than just radio experience and training around the equipment and so on. They receive a lot of information about drugs, crime and other social issues that are affecting the area in which they live."

"I feel that youngsters today are far more aware of drugs and the issues around drugs. The media and their environment dictates that and living in an area like High Wycombe they are surrounded by it. The Muslim community in High Wycombe has a significant proportion of drug users and they (the two interviewers) expressed to me that they had been personally affected by this and members of their families. I feel that these two young men were a little more street wise about drugs and I was impressed by their knowledge. In addition to this they also expressed interest around drugs awareness, for schools in the area, as they have been affected by drugs at school too."

"I think that the interview went well and the content was sufficient for this type of project. I feel that as SMART comes from a criminal justice perspective it is hard for members of the public to fully empathise with our client group. However there is a huge number of people affected by drugs and crime everyday and it's important for SMART and supporting agencies, to get the message to the residents of High Wycombe that there is a vast amount of help for all involved; from the victim to the perpetrators  from the users to the families of users."

The radio interviews for this project were all pre-recorded and will air in the last two weeks of September.

The interviews were recorded at Wycombe Youth Action's radio station, and the project was monitored by the DAAT's Communities Advisory Group. Two volunteers from the Asian community were also kept involved in the scheme.

* What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is a muslim festival which is celebrated in the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It commemorates the month when the Prophet Muhammad received the first Koran revelations. During Ramadan, muslims all over the world unite in this spiritual reflection, renewal and family bond. Adult muslims follow a period of fasting from sunrise to sunset during the holy month, which this years runs from 1 to 30 September. Ramadan takes place in the Gregorian calendar months of either September, October, November and December.