No-one likes to spend any time in hospital, and whether you are admitted for planned treatment or arrive unexpectedly, it can be quite daunting, especially if you have no friends or relatives who can visit.
Royal Free Radio has been based at Chase Farm Hospital since May 1970 and provides a dedicated service for patients in Chase Farm, North Middlesex and the Royal Free Hospitals.
Previously known as Radio Enfield, it’s on air 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and its aim is to provide entertainment and company for patients during a stay in hospital.
The service is operated entirely by volunteers in their spare time and offers a unique blend of advice and information for patients, a wide choice of music including patients’ requests, 2-minute hourly news bulletins provided from the Sky News centre, quizzes and interviews with guests from the local area, the latest news on what’s happening at the hospitals plus special evening musical reminiscences programmes designed for dementia patients.
A team of volunteers visit the wards to have a chat with the patients and find out if there is a particular piece of music they would like to hear in our nightly request programmes which are heard between 8pm and 10pm. It doesn’t matter what type of music gets requested – pop, jazz, classical, soul, easy listening, country and western, ballet music etc. – the station always read out every request received and most of the time manage to find the actual piece chosen from their vast record library.
Requests can also be telephoned in by patients, visitors or those unable to visit on 020 8363 6000 or via the website royalfreeradio.co.uk. It’s also possible to listen in to the station via the website by clicking on the link “Listen Live”.
The station has just relocated to new studios at Chase Farm after broadcasting from temporary premises for the last three years whilst Chase Farm was being re-built.
The volunteers are involved in all sorts of different tasks from mundane behind-the-scenes jobs to the more glamorous task of presenting programmes, from keeping the website and studios working to taking part in various fund-raising events.
Anyone interested in helping out at the station must be over 18 and in good health, able to spare a couple of hours at a regular time each week and able to travel to either Chase Farm or North Middlesex Hospitals.
An application form can be found at royalfreeradio.co.uk