17th February 2009, 9:53am
Katy supporting dreams of young sports reporters
Katy supporting dreams of young sports reporters A project set up by a University of Lincoln graduate which gives kids the chance to interview their favourite sports stars has won a national award.

Supporter to Reporter was created by Katy Atkinson based on her experiences of interviewing athletes whilst studying Media Production at the University of Lincoln.

The scheme, run by award-winning website Radiowaves, gives teenagers a ticket into the press conferences of leading teams like Manchester United Football Club, Lancashire County Cricket Club and Northampton Rugby Club.

Youngsters get the same access to the clubs’ stars as professional newspaper, radio and TV journalists – grabbing exclusive interviews with sporting heroes like footballer Rio Ferdinand, cyclist Chris Hoy and diver Tom Daley.

Now Supporter to Reporter has won a major accolade of its own – a BBC Connect and Create Achievement Award – and has just been launched as a nationwide project.

The award acknowledges the “outstanding contribution and the real benefit” that the project has made to increasing education and employment prospects of young people in the North of England.

Katy (23), who graduated from the University of Lincoln in 2006, developed her talent for radio at Siren FM, the University’s community radio station.

She started work at Radiowaves two years ago and launched Supporter to Reporter soon afterwards. She is now project manager for the scheme.

Katy said: “Supporter to Reporter gives the kids the same press accreditation which professional journalists would get, but often the people involved will want to give something more to the kids, so they actually get much greater access. We’re always striving to get behind-the-scenes and get real exclusives. It’s quite special.”

A current Siren FM radio presenter was also in the running for a BBC Connect and Create Achievement Award.

Louie Werth was shortlisted for his work giving young people the opportunity to produce and present radio shows, features and news reports.

He presents No Adults Allowed – a programme where the content is produced by and for young people - on Siren FM each weekday from 3-5pm.

Louie (20), who started volunteering at Siren FM in 2007, said: “We have been working with young people from different backgrounds in a number of ways. We have got a work experience programme and we have kids from schools and youth clubs coming in and making their own shows. Some of these young people have difficult things happening in their lives and they really benefit from us working with them one-on-one and letting them be creative.”

For more information on Supporter to Reporter, visit www.radiowaves.co.uk, and for information on Siren FM visit www.sirenonline.co.uk.
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