East Leeds FM (2010)


We set up East Leeds FM in 2003 as a continuation of our ongoing work in East Leeds. Initially it served several purposes:

  • to link schools with their communities (initially working with John Smeaton Community High School)
  • to communicate across the various neighbourhoods and estates of East Leeds
  • to break down barriers between generations


Since 2003, over 6000 people have taken part in an ELFM broadcast (all of them volunteers and aged between 3 and 87 years old). In 2010 the station had over 28,000 listeners. As our digital home gets stronger, we aim to develop a physical base at Seacroft Methodist Chapel: what would be the first-ever dedicated arts venue in East Leeds.


We have worked with a very broad range of partners across many sectors. We started with education and certainly that partnership is still very strong. We have worked in more-or-less every school in East Leeds and have developed very strong links with our "Writing for the Radio" programme of work. We now run our own Next Generation programme for young people, developing skills in music, writing, broadcasting and journalism.


Over the years ELFM has had many many sources of funding - some 26 different ones at our last count. One thing that did make a real impact was when the Tudor Trust agreed a 3-year core funding programme to allow us to further develop ELFM and look at setting up a sister rural station (Two Valleys Radio).

Working at local schools: Temple Newsam Halton Primary School

What We Learned

  • Radio is a fantastic tool in terms of connecting people: in this case connecting generations; cultures; neighbourhoods. 
  • A project that has been going for this long needs to keep developing and changing; that's a creative challenge in itself, and one we truly enjoy. 
  • The continuing development also helps us to play that role of 'accompanist' and ensure that we are continually responding to changes and leading new initiatives.

Where Next?

Into the chapel...

What it says on the tin. Photograph Ian Beesley