It takes a Village – Why we need to Support Community Services to keep a Sense of Community
The African proverb “It takes a Village to Raise a Child” has been used many times to highlight how we need the support of a whole community in the raising of healthy, happy, and well-rounded adults. Community is what gives our children a sense of worth and belonging. It is much more than just education and health services, it is also about the services that support our families by providing information that is accessible and unbiased, advice that helps us to make informed decisions, and opportunities for our children to learn new skills and develop a sense of something bigger than themselves. These services often develop out of a perceived need in the community at a ‘grassroots’ level and grow to provide something far beyond.
Radio ARA originated as a pirate station in the 80s when radio was state-controlled in Luxembourg, and this is also how ARA City Radio began in the English-speaking international community of Luxembourg. At first, they provided current international and local news, information, music, and chat for a small but growing group of English speakers. In time this community grew, and the radio station thrived on changing and developing and adding more support for other emerging communities without a voice in Luxembourg. Radio ARA, ARA City Radio and the Graffiti team, which provides opportunities for young people to develop skills and reach an audience of their own, have now been working within our community for 30 years.
Why Does Radio ARA Need our Help?
Despite many of our community services needing to close over the lock down period ARA City Radio kept going. Although many of the volunteers who support the running of the service could not get into the office they kept running on a skeleton staff. Most importantly they recognised a need for communities without reliable newsfeed about what was happening in their own countries and provided updates in various languages over this period. However, like most services they suffered a loss of revenue and they were starved of much needed funding. Unfortunately, on top of this the Government did not recognise this service as essential to the community at large, although they supported other similar services during this period.
Background to this, and essential to the future of this service is the wording of the new Media Support Bill that is going through Government at present. After many years of discussion about the importance of community media this new Bill will not support local radio. Without the support this Bill gives to other media providers, Radio ARA may not survive financially.
Why Does a Service like ARA Radio Matter to Us?
ARA Radio grew out of a need for local community radio for the English-speaking community. Over the years they have provided not only local and international news in English but information and advice about integration, local politics, services, and events. They have supported local charities and provided a voice for other community services. They have developed services for other communities including airtime for other language groups. They have supported the growth of youth radio and provide opportunities for many young people to start their careers in media.
But mostly I am supporting ARA radio because they have been a part of the community that helped me raise my kids. Every morning on the way to school we listen to ARA. Over the years the breakfast team have become part of our family. We have laughed along with the presenters and appreciated the music. We have entered competitions and joined in with the lively debate. Later in the day I have enjoyed thoughtful conversations over lunch and tuned in especially for the news. ARA has kept us informed and entertained. My son has now decided to run his own radio program through Graffiti and my daughter can’t wait to try.
This is why I will be helping by giving a little every month by direct debit. There are a number of events organised in September and October to #SupportRadioARA; the next one is on:
Thursday, 1st October 2020 at 7pm @ La Buvette Rotondes
ARA Evening of Music Covers Bingo, featuring artist Ross Steele
You can find out more about the crowdfunding campaign to save ARA Radio on https://aracityradio.com/
Article by: Lynn Frank who is a coordinator for Passage.
Last updated: Monday 28th September, 2020