Last Night a DJ Saved My Life

9 Sep 2020

Meet Mark Clayden, local musician turned fundraiser. Mark has been raising money during the pandemic to fund the donation of 150 portable radios for members of the community most at risk of social isolation. The radios will be distributed by Bristol Ageing Better (BAB), Caring in Bristol and One25.

Mark came into our office in early September to drop off the radios and demonstrate how easy they were to operate. All of the radios provided have a light, can charge a mobile phone, are able to play AM and FM radio and can be hand wound as well as powered by the mains. BAB will be distributing the radios through our work with the Coronavirus Support Hub for Older People in Bristol.

We caught up with Mark to find out a bit more about why he felt radio was so important.  

“Listening to the radio has got me through some difficult times when I was feeling very lonely, it made me feel connected to lots of people and to music. When the pandemic started, and people had to shield, I thought how awful it must be for people who were already socially isolated, who would now feel even more isolated from family and friends.

I thought that being able to listen to the radio would be a good way for people to keep in touch with what's going on, but also to feel connected with radios and DJs and music and other people. When you listen to the radio regularly, the DJs become friends and when you listen to them every day, some level of normality is restored.

To fundraise the campaign I approached local musicians and people working in the music industry: Thekla, Bella Union Records, 2000 Trees music festival, Arctangent festival and they were all 100% behind the campaign and pledged very generously towards it. I then moved onto social media and promoting through other musicians and other friends. The BBC picked it up as well and from there the word spread to the public and more donations came in.

I’m really pleased the crowd funder was a success and can’t wait for the radios to reach those most in need. I’ve kept the website live so people can continue to donate and hopefully we can give out even more radios in the future.”

The work doesn’t stop there for Mark, he’s already busy planning his next goal which is to encourage people to take part in OctSOBER. OctSOBER aims to get people to sign up to going sober for a month and donating the time they would have otherwise spent on alcohol/in pubs, to local charities.

A huge thank you to Mark, and we wish him the best of luck with his next project!

In December, BAB passed the radios on to Marmalade Trust who distributed them to their members who didn't have radios, as a part of their Christmas hampers. Picture below of Marmalade volunteer, Alison, collecting the radios. 


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