This month we’re introducing Wayne Spicer, Conference Services Manager from the University of Sussex who works for Chartwells, part of the wider Compass Group UK & Ireland family. Each year Wayne has the task of raising over £20k a year for his chosen charity, so why does he do it?
You know when you sit down in a training course and the dreaded question is posed, “Can you tell the group something interesting about yourself?” Well for many years I used to sit there thinking, what do I say? There’s not much interesting to say about myself really - I haven’t climbed any mountains or sat next to anyone famous on a flight.
But after moving to my new home in Hailsham in 2014, this was all about to change. A chance meeting with a gentleman handing out flyers in the local town was about to transform my social life completely. As he handed me a leaflet he asked, “Have you any spare time? We’re looking for people to help with our local radio project.” I mentioned that whilst at university I had studied to work on the radio and all I had wanted to was work in this industry. At the time there hadn’t been many job opportunities, hence why I am where I am now, working in the hospitality industry as a Conference Services Manager for Chartwells at the University of Sussex. The man smiled and said, “If you’re interested let me know. We’re meeting on Monday – you should come along.” I carried on with my day and didn’t give much thought about our conversation until later on that week. On Sunday night whilst sat watching TV my wife said, “Now we’ve moved, we should make more of an effort to meet new people and get out of the house.”
“Funny you should say that,” I said. Monday evening came around and off I went to the meeting.
The meeting commenced and the gentleman I had met on the street began speaking. “As you all know, we go on air on Saturday and our application to become a full-time community radio station has been submitted to OFCOM, so there’s lots to do. We’re really pleased to have some new faces tonight – Wayne, are you looking forward to presenting your first show at the weekend?” I think my face said it all, but the man sat on the other side of the table simply smiled at me reassuringly as if to say he’ll cope, he’s done this stuff before.
So began my involvement in this fantastic project. Hailsham FM (or Hailsham Festival FM as we were previously known) was ‘born’ in 2013 for the Hailsham Festival of Arts. Initially, the station was run with mainly Peter Wilson and Neil Povey on air, along with friends and other guests, broadcasted from an empty shop on Hailsham High Street. This was repeated again for the festival in 2014 and continued to grow when we received the news that our application to become a community station had been awarded – the full time licence would allow us to broadcast on FM and online.
The station is a community project, which is a non-profit organisation, totally run by local volunteers. The reasons for OFCOM awarding our license to broadcast was based on bringing a truly local service to entertain, provide local news stories, highlight community projects to the town and surrounding areas. This is currently missing in many areas of the UK, as local stations tend to focus on the larger towns only.
Since joining in 2013, I have hosted my own weekly programme every Sunday from 5pm and since 2017 I have become chairman of the Friends of Hailsham FM looking after the fundraising and membership that support the station. This includes the task of raising over £20k a year to keep the station running, through fund raising events and projects and also looking at ways we can use the station to create a better sense of community for the area.
It’s so easy to get into a routine, to just go to work, go home, make tea and watch TV, but I would urge anyone - however little time you have - to get involved in a local project in your town. I promise you will meet some fantastic, passionate people. By being involved in a local project it will make such a difference to you and the organisation, particularly as sometimes they can simply need people’s support rather than donations. Perhaps getting involved in something in your community your New Year’s resolution this year?
So here we are, some 5 years later, and whenever I find myself meeting new people or attending a training course, if someone says, “Tell me something interesting about yourself?” Well – I have a lot to say!
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