UK's First Dementia-Friendly DAB Radio Station

Total raised £3,279

raised so far



To provide a safe, enjoyable and beneficial listening experience to Merseyside and Liverpool City Region's dementia community via DAB radio

We're still collecting donations

On the 18th March 2024 we'd raised £3,024 with 63 supporters in 28 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

Merseyside Dementia Friendly Radio CIC (MDFR) is a radio station that works in collaboration with the dementia community to create and programme content for the benefit of those living in Merseyside/LCR whose lives are affected by dementia.

Our founder Nat first conceived of the idea of setting up the station when helping to care for his grandmother in her later stages of dementia and noticing that there was no broadcast media specifically catering for people with the condition. Nat had already been supporting his mother Gina Shaw (who was living with mixed dementia) in her role as a dementia ambassador for the Alzheimer's Society. Drawing these experiences and network of contacts through doing this, along with his experiences in audio engineering, interest in niche radio programming and the influence of his mum's life as an organiser, activist and advocate in many fields (unions, peace movement and dementia awareness), he decided to take a radical approach to solving a problem: creating a radio station based on kindness, consideration and compassion. An audio resource that's created by and with people whose lives are affected by dementia, rather than just 'for' them.


Those who have a deeper understanding of the effects of dementia immediately recognise the importance of our station, but even they often ask...

'What is dementia friendly radio?'

As our name suggests, we’ve designed a listening environment specifically for people whose lives have been affected by dementia. To accomplish this, we’ve stripped away some of the unpleasant surprises typical of conventional radio broadcasts.

NO ON-AIR ADVERTS: Most radio stations are funded by advertising, but adverts can be forceful, urgent and detrimental to a sense of wellbeing. In respect of our listeners’ needs, we don’t include them. 

NO SO1707482912_cross_talking_image_3.pngNIC CLUTTER: Standard radio is a cacophony of cross-talking and complicated sound design. This can be distressing for people with dementia-related perception issues, so we keep things simple and don’t include it.

NO NEWS PROGRAMMING: Radio should be an enjoyable space and the emotions raised by bad news may be more intense and last longer for people with dementia so whilst they can’t be removed from life, they can be removed from MDFR.

NO MODERN POP CULTURE REFERENCES: In a fast-paced culture of ever changing buzzwords and memes, it’s easy to feel left-behind. This is especially potent for those experiencing a phenomenon known as time-shifting, where a person feels they’re existing in earlier phases of their life. 

Aside from removing potentially harmful elements, we also provide a number of distinct benefits, such as:

1707483256_older_person_with_headphones_and_thought_bubbles.pngReminiscence Resources -  Playing music from eras in which people were younger can help elicit reminiscence, which in turn can help listeners to be transported back to happier times and can help nurture an improved sense of self. As well as playing popular music from earlier decades, we also include theme songs from film and television which can be equally evocative of times gone by. Other music resources for people living with dementia will simply involve curated playlists, whereas a portion of our daily programming will feature presenters providing information and light trivia about the songs in order to avoid the frustration of trying to remember song names and artists. The presenters will also encourage reminiscence by sharing their own memories connected to the pieces of music and gently encouraging listeners to think about their memories. When used in a group or family carer setting, these resources can also be used to spark conversation, leading to more in-depth reminiscence. 

Reminiscence will also be elicited via short segments about specific historic subjects such as local landmarks, events, transportation, sports, shopping etc. Potential 'red flag' subjects such as war and catastrophe will obviously be left out, so as to not distress our listeners. 


The closest we get to including news, is our regular ‘what’s on’ guide. We will collate information from local dementia-related organisations, groups and relevant health and social care departments, plus doing our own research.  We will then feature time-sensitive, carefully worded information about what’s happening in the local community, such as dementia cafes, singing groups, dementia friendly events and related services. 

Reality Orientation

This is a fancy way of saying that we state the day, time, and time of day at regular intervals. It’s quite common for those living with dementia to lose track of time, and they occasionally need a reminder of whether it’s nine o’clock in the morning, or nine o’clock at night. 

Self-Care Reminders

People with dementia can sometimes forget to eat, drink and go to bed at suitable times. MDFR provides gentle, periodic reminders of these day-to-day activities. 

We do all of this whilst ensuring everything is produced and broadcasted in a way which is suitable for those that may have perception issues and who may struggle to use modern technology. 

As well as on-air dementia-friendliness, we ensure that our operation as a studio is mindful of people whose lives are affected by dementia. As we encourage people from the dementia community to take part in content creation and development, we foster a calm, gentle environment in which to work. All shows are pre-recorded, so that people who may have issues keeping to rigid timeslots won't have as much pressure when taking part. 

The station has been broadcasting online 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week. It's been wonderfully received so far and we've had a lot of really positive feedback. 

 "I’ve been living with Alzheimer’s for the past 11 years and known Nat who I met through his mother Gina who also had Alzheimer’s. Merseyside Dementia Friendly Radio (MDFR) does exactly what it says. It is dementia friendly and a great resource for bringing the dementia community together.  MDFR is unique and I would go as far as saying an asset to us in the dementia community.

- Tommy Dunne BEM

"The radio station is a great listen for PLWD, including myself. I have done interviews and a series of classical music shows, this gives us a platform to show that we can live our lives as we did pre diagnosis and to take away the stigma that we are useless in society." 

Paul Hitchmough

Expansion to DAB!

Now we are m1707649261_radio_tower.jpgaking the exciting move to digital radio (DAB) with a community radio license from Ofcom. This will mean that our audience will be able to listen to our broadcast via their standard DAB radios.

In an era of the centralising of radio (with the BBC phasing-out its local stations in favour of nationally shared programming and stations such as Absolute Radio using the same presenter segments across all of its platforms), the need for local niche community radio is greater than ever. 

This is a massive step for us, and brings with it many additional costs. Most radio stations are funded by advertising. As we don't deem adverts to be dementia-friendly, we don't have this form of income available to us, which is why we need your help. 

We need money for:

New Premises - We need space in which to plan, record and edit content, perform day-to-day administrative tasks, train volunteers and hold meetings. 

Extra Equipment - We need to expand upon our existing equipment considerably in order to meet the additional requirements of a fully fledged community DAB station:

Recording equipment to facilitate multiple concurrent recording sessions 

Editing equipment so editing can be completed by deadlines

Acoustic treatment and sound proofing to ensure our programming is clear and of a high quality

Servers so we can effectively archive and log all of our content

Licenses, Subscriptions and Insurance 

Ofcom license

Local Multiplex bandwidth subscription

Streaming service subscription

PRS/PPL license

Memberships for marketing, meeting and music downloading services

We won't use any of the money from this Crowdfunder to pay salaries of our team as we'll be looking to cover this via grant funding, but we'd love to be able to cover travel and hospitality costs of our wonderful volunteers. 

Please do give what you can to help us in this exciting transition to the first dementia friendly DAB station in the UK, and possibly the World! 

Many thanks!

The MDFR Team

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This project offered rewards

£20 or more

£20 Reward

For your generous donation, you will receive an MDFR postcard, sticker or badge, as well as being included in the donor list on our website.

£1 or more

£1-4 Reward

Whilst we can't offer any physical rewards for this tier, you can be chuffed in the knowledge that this money will be well spent on the small but very necessary things, such as audio adapters and stationery.

£5 or more

£5 Reward

For £5, your name will be added to the donor list on our website and you can know that you've helped cover the cost of a very useful USB lead, or microphone clip.

£10 or more

£10-£19 Reward

For your generous donation you'll be added to the donor's list on our website and can be happy knowing that you've covered the cost of a vital piece of kit, such as an audio cable.

£20 or more

£20 Reward

Sponsorship of 'The Noticeboard' segment. The Noticeboard is our 'What's On' guide, and goes out on the hour, ten times per day. This tier will mean that your organisation's name will be featured at the start of each segment for one year.

£50 or more

£50 Reward

Your very generous award is greatly appreciated. You will receive an MDFR sticker, badge and postcard set and will be added to the donor list on our website.

£100 or more

£100 Reward

For your incredibly generous award you will receive an official MDFR t-shirt, a sticker, badge and postcard set and will added to the donor list on our website.

£200 or more

£200 Reward

For your amazingly generous donation, you will receive an official MDFR hoody, sweatshirt or screen-print, as well as the sticker, badge and postcard set and being added to the donor list of our website.

£500 or more

£20 Reward

For this astonishingly generous pledge, you will be featured in our Top Donors list on our website, plus an official MDFR hoody, sweater or print, plus an MDFR t-shirt or tote bag and a sticker, badge and postcard set.

£1,000 or more

Website Sponsor Level!!!

Your overwhelmingly generous donation will give you or your business sponsorship status for a year. You'll be featured on our website as a sponsor. Plus you'll get the hoody/sweater/print, t-shirt/tote bag and sticker, badge and postcard set.

£3,000 or more

On-Air Show Sponsor Level

This tier will mean your organisation's name will be at the start of a show, every day for a year on the UK's first Dementia-Friendly DAB station. "The 60's Hour, brought to you by [Your Organisation's name]" Preference for which show you sponsor will work on a first come, first served basis, so get in fast to secure your preferred slot! The term of the sponsorship will commence once we have transitioned to DAB

£10,000 or more

The Noticeboard Sponsorship

Sponsorship of 'The Noticeboard' segment. The Noticeboard is our 'What's On' guide, and goes out on the hour, ten times per day. This tier will mean that your organisation's name will be featured at the start of each segment for one year.

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