UK’s first TV community benefit society prepares to go live

A local television community benefit society, the first of its kind in the UK, has achieved its launch fundraising target. Sheffield Community Media Ltd owns Sheffield Live TV,...

A local television community benefit society, the first of its kind in the UK, has achieved its launch fundraising target. Sheffield Community Media Ltd owns Sheffield Live TV, which is due to go on air on 23 September.

The bencom raised £160,000, nearly £10,000 more than planned. Sheffield people, businesses and voluntary organisations were encouraged to invest and support local community media.

Some 114 applied, raising £90,000 in community share applications and pledges. The Key Fund contributed a further £70,000 in social investment loans.

The money will be used to purchase equipment and complete studio facilities for public access and independent production. Sheffield Community Media intends to pay shareholders “a modest rate of interest”.

The new TV channel will broadcast on Freeview Channel 8, Virgin Cable, and the internet. Revenue will come from a contract to supply news to the BBC, plus local and national advertising and sponsorship. The channel will collaborate with existing community radio station Sheffield Live!, which has been broadcasting via FM for nearly seven years.

Sheffield Live TV will broadcast news about Sheffield alongside programmes covering local music, sport, culture and more. It promises unique, high quality content, made by local people. A flagship daily news programme will cover Sheffield news in depth.

Steve Buckley, chair of the new channel and a director of Sheffield Community Media, said: “We’re delighted that so many Sheffield people and organisations have shown their support for Sheffield Live TV and community-owned media by applying for community shares. We’d like to thank them for their support and we look forward to their involvement in the channel.

“We’re in the final phase of our planning to launch Sheffield Live TV, which will be locally owned and run for community benefit. We aim to develop a multimedia news service and to deliver original, locally-made programming, reflecting the interests and talent of Sheffield people and communities.”

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