Jon Andrews recently took over the twice weekly Sunny Sessions on Surrey Hills Community Radio in conjunction with The Sunnybank Trust. Jon is employed by the trust to produce and present the show, which includes contributions from people helped by the charity. Jon has been involved with community radio for about 20 years and has a morning show on Radio Woking. He was a support worker for the mental health charity Mencap.
“This new job is perfect for me as it brings together the work I have been doing and the radio,” Jon said. “Radio has been a lifelong passion of mine and I have always seen the link between people with learning disability and the benefits of radio both to listen to and to be involved with. I trained a man who has Asperger’s Syndrome years ago at hospital radio and that was the point I saw the link and that led me to work with people with learning disabilities. I began recording radio with people I supported at Mencap and now this new job is the natural next step for me.”
The Sunnybank Trust is based in Epsom, and helps people with learning disabilities to be able to live without prejudice and have confidence, opportunities and control over their own lives.
Jon said the need to work remotely because of the pandemic means it is more important than ever to help people with disabilities to stay connected, but also means that the trust is able to reach people in a wider area.
“I welcome content from anybody who is interested in getting involved through dedications and shout outs and clips which can be sent to me, getting people’s voices heard on the radio. The show has been running since March at the start of lockdown and has proved popular as a way to combat isolation caused by the coronavirus and its effects.”
One element of the show is called Beyond the Label, in which people talk about their disabilities and how it affects their lives. These honest interviews tell real life stories, with real life struggles and achievements.