A HOSPITAL radio station in Oxford is fighting to raise the £75,000 it needs to stay on air after being asked to move to a new base.

Radio Cherwell, which has been broadcasting since 1967, is currently housed in the old blood transfusion office in a pre-war block at the Churchill Hospital site in Headington.

But Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust said the building is no longer fit for use and has told the station it has to move to the hospital’s gatehouse by September at the latest.

Oxford Mail:

  • Neil Stockton in the first studio

Radio Cherwell chairman Neil Stockton said: “We were offered use of the gatehouse which is quite small and we will have to face the facts that it will need some work done to it.

“A lot of building work needs to be done to soundproof it, as well as some other more minor improvements but it comes to a cost of about £75,000.

“The trust told us in December last year that we would have to move out by the end of March 2014.

“We’re still here but the problem is we might have to leave at any moment.”

The station has launched an appeal on its website asking for donations to help raise the money and its committee is drawing up plans for fundraising events.

Normal yearly running costs are about £5,000, money which is raised by providing services using the station’s specialist equipment, including running the public address system at the Eynsham Carnival.

Oxford Mail:

  • Steve Bridges in the ’80s

A spokesperson for the trust said the gatehouse has been offered on a 10-year, rent free lease agreement but confirmed the station will need to pay refurbishment costs.

She said: “The trust has to make use of its estate in the best way possible and for what it is commissioned to do, which is provide high-quality patient care and services.

“Discussions have been on-going with Radio Cherwell for almost a year to find a suitable alternative location and this has included us providing free external support for both their building and equipment needs.”

Mr Stockton, who has been involved with Radio Cherwell since 1972, said the importance of hospital radio to patients should not be ignored.

He said: “People think of hospital radio and they think of teenagers playing records but it’s so much more than that.

“I completely understand that the trust feels it needs to spend money on life-saving equipment and that sort of thing but we do play an important role.”

Donations can be made to Radio Cherwell by visiting radiocherwell.com/page/finance

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