Blink FM Volunteer – My Experience

picture VolunteerFavaad Iqbal, previous Blink FM volunteer at Wycombe Youth Action, shares his experience of volunteering at the youth-led radio.
“I am a second generation immigrant whose parents settled in the High Wycombe area. English was neither of my parents’ first language. Socially, many immigrant families do not invest in raising the cultural awareness or ability of their children – for instance I never learned to play an instrument when younger – my parents felt such activities to be luxuries, and in retrospect, it is easy to understand why.

Nevertheless, as a teenager in a pre-Spotify era, I was fascinated with the radio.

When I heard that WYA was launching a youth radio station, ‘Blink FM’, the opportunity to improve public speaking, be given the free reign to play some of my favourite records and meet similar minded people was an irresistible opportunity for a nervous teenager with a passion for music.

Every summer during my university studies, I returned to the High Wycombe area and continued to partake in WYA’s activities. These experiences not only provided an opportunity to improve my overall vocational experience and improve my public speaking, but also meant I was able to be gainfully employed in the period between my undergraduate and postgraduate studies (through acting as a project co-ordinator for Blink FM in August 2008).

“I continue to DJ on a freelance basis, which I owe to my experiences at WYA”

Nowadays, I work in charity finance but I continue to DJ on a freelance basis, which I owe in large part to my experiences at WYA, and recently set up my own company to pursue those interests formally. I still keep in touch with several people that were first give a platform by WYA – and can think of at least four individuals who are now radio presenters/producers on national radio stations (e.g. BBC Radio 5 Live, Kiss FM, Jazz FM).

“I can think of at least four individuals who are now radio presenters/producers on national radio stations”

WYA is an organisation that has always championed the needs of young people through positive activities in the High Wycombe area, and eroded crucial barriers to social and cultural mobility – important to a town as ethnically and socially diverse as High Wycombe.

“WYA has always provided individuals with the skills and tools to be able to change their own personal situation”

In an era where youth unemployment is considered a critical issue, WYA has always provided individuals with the skills and tools to be able to change their own personal situation – something I and many others were able to experience first-hand.

Without the charity’s activities I would not have met friends whom I still hold dear, had the opportunities to hone hobbies I still practise today or even been able to obtain remuneration for project management at a critical period of my life. It provided me with the opportunity to pursue something professionally with my own career and I am incredibly thankful & fortunate to have had such opportunities available to me as a young person. ”

Favaad Iqbal is currently Tax Manger at the University of Cambridge, an exempt charity subject to regulation by the Higher Education Funding Council for England. Prior to his career in tax, he completed an interdisciplinary PhD in Neuroscience and Organic Chemistry from University College London and his work was featured in several leading publications. He writes about his experience as a young person who was able to benefit from WYA’s activities.