Livingston-based Esh Border Construction is on the same wavelength as a unique community radio station for adults on the autistic spectrum after handing it a great bursary boost.

26th May 2017

Sam Radio – which broadcasts from St Margaret’s House in Edinburgh’s London Road seven days a week – is the first station of its kind in Scotland, attracting autistic listeners from all over the world. Last week, Esh Border Construction’s Business Development Manager Euan McDermott visited Sam Radio where he was interviewed on air by presenter Joseph Cameron and thanked for the company’s support.

Euan told Joseph how Esh Communities has been operating for five years – in which time it has provided more than £140,000 to organisations across the UK that serve the same communities as the company.

The non-profit radio station tuned in to the grant funding possibilities offered by Esh Border Construction’s Communities scheme after hearing about the much-needed support it continues to offer to local organisations who often struggle to continue operating. This year alone, the scheme has granted just under £10,000 to 13 charities, social enterprises and community groups across Scotland, including a West Lothian refuge for women and children made homeless due to domestic abuse, and a befriending service in Dumfries and Galloway for older people suffering from social isolation.

Sam Radio has only been in existence for only a year, but in that time has swelled its presenters from two to 18. The station was dreamed up by Paul Ross who, despite a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome, managed to get Sam Radio off the ground with family support after being left frustrated by a lack of opportunities for people on the autistic spectrum. The sound engineering graduate, mum Sheilah, and dad Phil are desperate to keep Sam Radio going – and Esh Border Construction was delighted to lend a hand.

Phil said:

“Sam Radio has made a big difference to the lives of everyone involved, significantly boosting confidence and engagement while providing an amazing social outlet where people of similar backgrounds have been able to make great new friends. At first, some of the presenters were scared to go on air on their own, so brought in someone else who was also autistic, and then slowly built up their confidence.

Suddenly they are able to talk on air for five or 10 minutes without a break, plan and organise their radio slot, and even do small things that might not have been possible before – simple things like independently travelling here on a bus. Paul started the station because he didn’t have great experiences of community radio elsewhere. Now he’s flourishing and Sam Radio is helping to raise awareness of autism across the world – we have listeners as far away as America and Saudi Arabia tuning in through the website as well as Facebook and Twitter.

We are essentially a community – everyone supports each other – but the support of external organisations like Esh Border Construction is vital if we are to continue and grow.”

Esh Communities is supported by Esh Charitable Trust and is open to groups who operate across Esh Group’s regions with innovative approaches to tackling community issues.

To learn more about Esh Communities visit the Esh Group website here:

It’s a real privilege for us to contribute to and support Sam Radio’s growth. The station is a brilliant resource for so many who otherwise wouldn’t have had opportunities to get into anything like this. Sam Radio is enabling positive change in such an amazing way, and we’re so proud to be part of that. Seeing how it operates and being invited on to be interviewed is the icing on the cake.

Adding value to the communities in which we work is such an important guiding principle of the business, and Sam Radio represented an ideal recipient for funding.

- Euan McDermott, Esh Border Construction

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