Coleraine community TV channel creator honoured at NI Social Enterprise Awards
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Robert Campbell, co-founder and Operations Director of Aspire Media N.I. CIC, attended the awards ceremony last month at the Crowne Plaza Belfast where he received the Highly Commended Young Person of the Year award from the category sponsors CEF Construction Employers Federation.
Along with co-founder Andy Cooper, Robert established a community TV channel based online and known as Aspire Media TV after starting out working with Focus on Family in Ballysally developing initial plans to expand and grow the media channel to be part of a community interest company.
Robert explained: “The last 12 months have been challenging and exciting with new projects and we look forward to pursuing more in the next 12 months.
"The challenge of developing the media channel and promoting it as the new source for the local community was difficult but we overcame this by engaging fully with our local community and through extensive promotion and publicity. This means we now have great input from our local community.”
The Ballysally area of Coleraine was featured in a BBC series called The Estate back in 2012 and Robert explained that many of the residents were unhappy with the portrayal of the area in the programmes.
"After the backlash of the BBC series ‘The Estate’, the new Aspire Media channel has now given our community their own voice to show the many positives within our locality."
Robert said the Social Enterprise award was ‘overwhelming’ and added: “Words couldn't explain how I felt on the night as I was up against a strong list of finalists and to be Highly Commended was overwhelming. Excited and happy was the feeling as the award is amazing to achieve.
"What set me apart from the other finalists was that I have led on the development of a dedicated media channel for the local community to access and for them to have a voice. Co-leading a team with my co-founder Andy Cooper, we have grown to enhance our offerings, and I think the panel saw the effort that I have put in to get us to this stage.”