Is 15 minutes enough? Our new campaign for home carers and those who they help

womanwithhatCarers get their 15 minutes of fame on our social media channels

Is fifteen minutes enough? New study shows home visitor carers for elderly people only get 15 minutes per client for washing, changing, feeding and chatting. At WaveLength we know that carers do an amazing job to relieve loneliness among elderly or chronically ill people – so we want to give carers their own 15 minutes of fame.

Are you a carer? Have you been helped by a carer, or know somebody who has? Tweet your experiences with the #15minutes hashtag, or send a video to, and it could get shown on our YouTube channel.

Carers’ work doesn’t get praised enough. As the latest study shows, many carers are illegally paid less than the minimum wage. Help us to give them their 15 minutes of recognition – and to let the world know that 15 minutes’ company per day is not enough for an isolated person..

– To donate to WaveLength, use JustGiving, or post us a cheque or bank draft.

Disabled cut off from consumer websites

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMany popular websites fail to cater for disabled people’s access needs. Our CEO, Tim Leech, puts this problem in perspective as a dyslexic web user.

“Out of the UK’s top five price comparison sites, four score one star for disabled accessibility and one scores two stars, says AbilityNet, using a scale in which three stars indicates ‘a base level of usability.’, mySupermarket and Kelkoo all fail to provide an inclusive service for consumers. Even with screen readers and voice recognition, people with visual impairments, dyslexia or cognitive conditions struggle to ‘read’ websites not designed for them. Author Terry Pratchett, an early-stage Alzheimers sufferer, chimes in on the Guardian website to voice his own frustration with using these sites with voice recognition software. As a severely dyslexic person, I also have a personal story to tell.

“The other day, my stepson used one of the most popular insurance comparison sites to get a quote for his new car. Proud of the new driver in the family, I wanted to help him out with the knowledge that comes from years of car ownership. But because of a badly designed site, he had to read everything out to me, making the whole process take much longer than it should have done. If I lived alone, like many of our beneficiaries, this problem would make it near-impossible for me to use these sites, cutting me off from the best deals. With cuts to Disability Living Allowance and other services also in place, it’s a terrible shame to exclude people already at a disadvantage from these useful consumer resources.

“In this day and age, websites should be prepared to cater for everyone. Until they do, WaveLength can’t support internet provision as a catch-all solution for people who find it hard to get out of the house. We’ll keep campaigning with all our strength for real social inclusion of disabled, older and vulnerable people.”

Digital radio conversion – any progress? Our CEO Tim Leech speaks out

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATim meets with the Consumer Expert Group to discuss progress on radio digital switchover – and finds a lack of benefit analysis

Tim: “On Tuesday, I came away from a meeting of the Consumer Expert Group (CEG) without much feeling of progress on the planned switchover of the UK’s radio stations from analogue to digital. As an association dedicated to consumer rights, the CEG needs to see an analysis of the cost benefit involved in a digital radio switchover. Although the Digital Switchover for TV is almost complete, the CEG is uncertain about the benefits of a switch to digital radio, which is currently used by less than 30% of the UK population.

“WaveLength and our friends at CEG have made a recommendation to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, that around 75% of the UK population should have voluntarily switched to digital radio, through DAB devices, internet, connected TV or smart phones, before the analogue service is removed. But the pressure group representing these commercial radio stations and the BBC, Digital Radio UK, wants to make the switch as soon as penetration hits 50%. And with a cost to the switchover of up to £21 million, Digital Radio UK is asking the government to contribute an unspecified proportion of the funding needed.

“As the digital TV switchover is being achieved at no cost to the taxpayer, the CEG is asking why the government should shoulder the cost of a switch to radio – and at the Tuesday meeting, I realised that we’re no closer to getting an answer. At WaveLength, we think that the type of radio station you listen to should be up to you. We’re not keen to remove consumers’ access to a range of radio choices, in order to cut costs to radio stations.

“The CEG and WaveLength are behind digital radio for those who want it, and have seen how much comfort it can bring to our lonely and isolated beneficiaries. But we need a solid set of regulations, and a proper analysis of the costs and social benefits involved, before I or WaveLength can support a nationwide switchover. At the moment, this information still seems far off.”

Press release: New study shows 19,000 domestic violence victims flee homes every year

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANew London Metropolitan study reveals 19,000 women ask English authorities for refuge from domestic violence in 2009. Help WaveLength equip the centres they go to.

Press release: New study shows 19,000 domestic violence victims flee homes every year

 Today, WaveLength is sad to hear how many domestic violence victims turn to the state for refuge. During our trial women’s aid centre project in 2009, we knew that 16,570 women were living in refuges in England[1]. Today, a London Metropolitan University study discussed at the British Sociological Association conference shows that 19,000 women fleeing violent partners asked the state to rehouse them in the year 2008-2009. More than 9,000 women took children with them.

Our 2009 trial project – which we hope to continue as a long-term commitment – provided TVs and radios for women’s aid centres in Liverpool and Wales. We’ve been told that this equipment helps to foster an atmosphere of normality and community at a very difficult time. For many victims of domestic violence, who have been systematically isolated for years, entering a refuge is the first step towards rejoining a community. A TV provides a window to the outside world, a chance to socialise with other women and children, and to build structure into family life.

Kelly, a mother of two, says: “The boys are used to watching TV at night before they go to bed and having the TV made it a real home for them. I can’t tell you what bliss it was to have the kids settled, just heaven. Sometimes in the day, the kids would watch CBBC in the main lounge with the other kids. It was good for them to play with the other kids and it meant that I could get on with jobs like the washing and cleaning our room. It was a big, big help.”

Sadly, today’s study also shows that only 60% of those applying for help secured accommodation at women’s residences. Since 2009, local authority cuts have led 40% of UK refuges to lay off staff and shut down beds, forcing them to turn away 230 desperate women every day. If we succeed in finding enough funding to support a full long-term scheme, we’ll help these amazing centres to free up money to keep staff employed and beds available. Please help us reach our goal of providing much-needed companionship, comfort and contact tools for centres across the UK, through donations or raising awareness.


[1] Estimated figures from 2008/9, provided by Women’s Aid. Extrapolated from 75% response rate to annual questionnaire, with 75% response rate.

Calling all Tweeters! Social Media Volunteers wanted

Are you a social media animal? Do you love tweeting, sharing and pinning? Then we need you!

We are looking for social media volunteers who will tweet and share our posts on a regular basis, all from the comfort from their own homes. If it sounds like you, get in touch!

In the meantime, check out our Facebook

and Twitter!/WaveLengthHelp


Contact: Ela Vine,, tel. 01708621101

We are looking forward to hearing from you!

Read what our new volunteer, Emma, said about us

Emma: I love what you do I think its amazing and so sweet. It’s something you don’t really think about. It’s great that you help out those who are lonely or isolated by reconnecting them with the world.’

Emma is our Social Media Volunteer and helps us to spread the word about our work.

Press release: The Budget 2012, ‘granny tax’ and its impact on the third sector organisations

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWaveLength warns that the changes introduced to age-related allowances in the Budget 2012 will impact negatively on charities providing services to older people.

Pensioners could lose up to £260 a year in income tax allowances, which the charity fears could make more pensioners struggling financially.

Tim Leech, The CEO of WaveLength, said: ‘The austerity measures means that we are already experiencing increase in applications for help for elderly and disabled people. The freeze of income tax allowance for people over 65 could result in more people needing our help. However, charities like WaveLength that are funded mainly from donations from individuals, are already being hit by decreasing donations, as family incomes are being squeezed. The so called ‘granny tax’, will affect a large percentage of our donors, which could mean that they might not be able to donate to charities like ours anymore. We fear that when help for the most vulnerable people in our society will be needed most, third sector organisations might not be able to deliver it’.

WaveLength is a national charity providing free radios and televisions to elderly, disabled, mentally and chronically ill people living in poverty.

Our new volunteer, Thursa

Find out why Thursa decided to volunteer for WaveLength.

‘My name is Thursa and I’m a freelance copy-editor and proofreader. I decided to look into volunteering in my area of expertise and came across WaveLength online. I was extremely impressed by the charity’s history and by the simplicity of their vision; it’s so easy to take for granted the comfort a television or radio can bring when we’re feeling low. I know from experience how much my nan appreciated her nature programmes and classical music after she was widowed. I look forward to doing what I can to help.’

Meet our new volunteer, Abigail

When we have asked Abigail why she decided to volunteer for us she replied: ‘I’ve been looking for the right ‘voluntary’ role for a while. I’m a stay-at-home Mum of one with limited free time but I’ve been keen to do some voluntary work for a while’.

‘ When I saw WaveLenght’s call for volunteer proof readers and copy-editors, couldn’t believe my luck. It was just right for me! Proof reading and copy-editing was part of my pre-Mummy role working in marketing communications for a large not-for-profit organisation. I saw a natural fit with my skill set.

I was really pleased to learn more about WaveLength from their website. I have several relatives who are housebound and could be described as isolated from society so it made me really excited to think that I might be able to help other people in a similar situation, albeit in a small way. I’m looking forward to working with WaveLength. Here’s hoping I can help! ‘

Meet James, our new volunteer

james_watson_volunteerWaveLength has a new volunteer, James, who writes below why he decided to volunteer for us.

James: ‘I currently work on an Information Technology customer Helpdesk, with specific responsibilities for writing the “Knowledgebase” documentation that the technicians use to troubleshoot customer problems, so I feel I’ve got good writing and literacy skills, paying particular care to write for the intended audience. This is particularly important in my area of computing where most end-users are not technically-minded and may well not understand terms like “reboot the machine”, or know their RAM from their ROM, for example.

I’d been looking for ways to “do my bit” and give something back to society for some time now, and stumbled across WaveLength’s request for proof readers whilst browsing volunteer opportunities online. What I liked about the role was that I could fit in the work as it suited me… something that was important, as I’ve just become a Father for the first time to my beautiful daughter Evie… along with the very nature of their work. Having been stuck at home alone for weeks during a long-term illness a few years ago, I can’t imagine not having a radio to listen to, just to simply hear another human voice, and so applaud the good work they do in giving those less able the means to tune back into life again’.

Everyone at WaveLength wants to congratulate James on the birth of his beautiful daughter and looks forward to working with him.

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Our new volunteer Clare

We welcome a new volunteer on board, Clare. Clare will help us with copy-editing. Read what Clare says about herself and why she chose to volunteer for us.

‘After leaving school, I read Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge University.  But, only three years after graduating and working as a vet, I was diagnosed with and treated for a brain tumour. This left me disabled and unable to continue with veterinary work, so I retrained as a proofreader and copy-editor, so that I could work online from home. I worked for several publishing companies and charities for some years. However, as time went by, work became harder and harder to find, and I decided earlier this year to concentrate on volunteer copy-editing work for charities. So I added my name to an online list of professionals offering their services to charities as volunteers. And recently, I was contacted by WaveLength, which asked for my help. As I wasn’t familiar with the charity, I read through the website before agreeing to help. And I’m pleased to say that I was very impressed by the work of the charity, and was very happy to help them as a volunteer copy-editor, which I’ll be doing in the future’.

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Interview with Andy Cato

Wavelength and Andy Cato

WaveLength: Music is a powerful communicator. What do you think about the idea of a charity developing a theme tune as part of its identity?

Andy Cato: Music can often say a lot more than words. It can transform people’s mood, and, through association, can define whole periods of your life. So, for people trying to set a tone, communicate a message and set themselves apart, it makes a lot of sense to put music at the heart of that.

WL: Why have you picked this particular piece for us? What resonates about it for you?

AC: It was actually based on an idea that I’ve had on the go for a long time. When I came across it again, there was the basis of a track which seemed to have the right spirit — it had a hopefulness about it. To that, it was a question of adding a melody that was simple enough to be emblematic in a short space of time.

WL: As a musician what do you feel the role that music/the arts can play in helping people who are lonely and isolated?

AC: It’s been said before, but music is the universal language. It can communicate between people who find it difficult, it can console, it can lift you up when you’re down, it can create a whole world of escape.

WL: You are well known not just as a musician, composer and producer, but also as a concerned voice on global warming and environmental change. What are the key ethical factors that motivate you?

AC: It’s clearly not sustainable for the whole world to live like we do in the west. Everybody knows that, but a lot of monied interests will lobby to deny it for as long as possible and are doing so very successfully. So, it feels like being trapped in a slow motion train crash. But I’ve been in more airports in the last few years than most people will see in their lives and you can’t live a sustainable life that’s on the move like that. So, rather than sound off from the seat of an aeroplane, I should put my own house in order first.

WL: What motivates your interest in global warming? How did you get interested in the environment?

AC: I did a lot of reading and blogging around Copenhagen1. Before that, I had no idea of the extent of the state we’re in. It came at the same time that I moved to the middle of nowhere and started trying to feed myself2. Then you realise that all our big cities and neon lights are based on 6 inches of topsoil and it put things in perspective. I also began to see what agribusiness is doing to that soil and to the food we eat. Ethically, it’s right up there with the oil industry.

WL: Are there any current environmental issues you feel are being dropped off the agenda?

AC: We’re quietly following a path of urbanisation, resource extraction, soil erosion, emissions and ‘growth’ which, whilst it can only end in tears, is successfully being presented as the only option. None of that is on the front page agenda.

WL: How is your ethical stance on the environment mirrored in your support for us at WaveLength?

AC: I’m in a very lucky position which allows me to spend a bit of time to speak to the people I’ve met over the years, to try and help out where I can. A lot of these problems are so overwhelming that it’s nice to get beyond being a cog in a wheel and try to make a specific difference to a charity, like WaveLength, which has a direct impact on people’s everyday lives.

WL: As a charity we focus on people who are isolated and, as a way of trying to lift that isolation, we understand access to music, entertainment, drama, news, and education through technology can be a great help. What is it about WaveLength’s work that you find particularly attractive?

AC: I like the focus on the positive aspects of technology — freedom and information. That’s what it should be about.

WL: Despite the current economic difficulties, popular music in the UK appears to be a lot less political or willing to make a social comment than in, say, the 1980s. Would you agree with this and what role do you think musicians can play in bringing social issues to a wider audience?

AC: I completely agree with this. It’s hard to believe that a small group of people rode Sunseekers and drank champagne for a decade, then persuaded the working man to pay the bill, all without a shot being fired. But then, I didn’t man the barricades, nor did I write the protest songs. On the music front at least I’m trying to put that right and have formed a new band, Days Of May, in which I sing for the first time and can deal with some of these frustrations in writing, along with a few lost loves. Whether anyone will listen — I’ll find out in a couple of months.

WL: Thank you very much.


1 Copenhagen 2009, Climate Conference in Copenhagen, 6-18 December 2009.

2 Growing his own crops.

Andy Cato creates first theme tune for UK charity

The new theme tune has been generously donated by Andy Cato, of Groove Armada fame. This is available as a free ringtone that can be downloaded from WaveLength’s new website, which has also recently been launched.

Andy Cato creates first theme tune for UK charity

WaveLength — the UK charity that provides elderly, disabled and socially isolated people with radios and televisions — is the first UK charity to have its own dedicated theme tune.

The new theme tune has been generously donated by Andy Cato, of Groove Armada fame. This is available as a free ringtone that can be downloaded from WaveLength’s new website, which has also recently been launched.

The inspiration for the theme tune, as Andy Cato explains: “was actually based on an idea that I’ve had for a long time. When I came across it again there was the basis of a track that seemed to have the right spirit — that conveyed a sense of hopefulness. It was then a question of adding a melody, which has the potential to be emblematic in a short space of time.”

Commenting on the new ringtone and website, Tim Leech, the charity’s chief executive, said: “Since the charity’s inception it has been dedicated to reducing isolation and loneliness, which we achieve by providing radios and televisions to those with limited means, and so it is entirely appropriate that we now have an audible signature that will help to reinforce the work of the charity and we’re extremely grateful to Andy Cato for providing this. I am also delighted with the new website, which provides information on all aspects of our work and shows how people can get involved.”

The ringtone is available on WaveLength’s new website:


Issued by:

Simon Turton

Opera Public Relations

T: 0845 060 0650

M: 07976 826004




The charity was established in 1939 as a society that would provide the bedridden with wirelesses (the Greater London Society Providing Wirelesses for the Bedridden), which was formed by a partnership with the BBC and The Rotary Club.

After being mothballed for the duration of the second world war the charity re-emerged in 1946 and become known as the Wireless for the Bedridden Society.

In 2010 the charity was re-named as WaveLength, but despite this name change the objective of the charity has remained focused on working towards eliminating loneliness and isolation in society.

For anyone wanting to donate the charity now has the ability to receive monies via text message by sending “WAVE22 £amount” to 70070.

For more information contact Simon Turton at Opera PR on 0845 060 0650 or visit:


Andy Cato was born in 1972, grew up near Barnsley and from an early age was exposed to jazz and blues by his father, who introduced him to the piano and trombone.

In 1988, caught up in the dawn of the house music movement, he swapped the blues for white labels and turntables. He moved to London, set up Skinnymalinky records and, after years on the road between the UK’s dancefloors, had just signed his band (Beat  Foundation) to Virgin when he met up with Tom Findllay.

A week in a Clapham flat later, At The River was being cut onto 7”, Groove Armada was born and the Virgin deal was dropped. Since then, Andy has written ten years’ worth of Groove Armada anthems, headlined festivals and DJ’d all over the world. After 2010’s Grammy-nominated Black Light, 2011 sees another Groove Armada reinvention: Redlight — a return to the warehouse sound where it all started.

Their Lovebox festival, now a 60,000 person weekend, will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2012.

Andy Cato has over 40 releases, 52 remixes and 9 albums to his name.

For more information visit:

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