Reaching in and out

Friday 20 September 2013, 12:37

Diane Reid Diane Reid Head of BBC Outreach & Corporate Responsibility

Tagged with:

Head of BBC Outreach, Diane Reid, gives an insight into the department’s recent projects including a poignant film made in partnership with White City Estate residents.

Earlier this week I attended a screening of Tales of the White City  – an extraordinary musical from the composer Benjamin Till, created with over 400 residents of the White City Estate in west London. This is an area which has been home to the BBC for over 50 years.

The film is made up of stories about individual people living and working on the estate, generally using their own words which have been set to music. These are intimate portraits revealing deep feelings about life, past and present, on the estate.

Tales of White City A still from the musical Tales of White City

What was striking at the screening was the reaction of the audience. 

At the end of each story, the audience applauded and whooped – affirming and celebrating the individuals – each of whom had been brave enough to reveal something very personal and important about their lives.

The reason the film works so well is that it was made as a true partnership between the individuals and the film makers. Those being filmed trusted the film makers enough to let them into their lives and to get to know them, and this is reflected in the film. There are no trite sound bites here, but real stories, told by individuals in their own voices. And that is what comes across on the screen.

As a former film maker, I know that the moment when someone reveals a little bit of themselves on camera is the moment when the film comes alive, when the research and patience and re-takes and frustrations of filming suddenly come good. Because at that moment you know that you have made an honest film, which truly represents that person and their views.

It is this honest relationship which is at the heart of the BBC's outreach work. Across the UK, the BBC connects to individuals and communities on a wide range of activities, ranging from work experience with Radio 1, to BBC Children in Need’s Radio 2 CarFest, to Stargazing LIVE.

The breadth and reach of this work is reflected in the BBC Corporate Responsibility Performance Review 2013, published today. It complements the BBC Annual Report and is a summary of the BBC's corporate responsibility work from April 2012 to March 2013. It's produced for licence fee payers as part of the BBC's accountability process. 

In the report you'll find information about the BBC's commitment to developing STEM (Science, Technology Engineering & Mathematics) skills in young people and its Women in Engineering Group. There's an account of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales' accessible concerts for more than 3000 schoolchildren, including a special concert for deaf and hard of hearing children, where members of the young audience were able to touch the musical instruments as they were played.

Children with Cello Children participating in a BBC National Orchestra of Wales accessible concert

There's also information about the BBC's environmental work. We raise public awareness of the issues through our broadcasts. We also set ourselves targets to address our own environmental impact. This year we exceeded our recycling target by 14%. 

We've been working hard to achieve other environmental targets. For example, those connected to our properties. We are moving out of older buildings (such as Television Centre which accounts for nearly a quarter of our energy usage) to newer ones such as Salford and New Broadcasting House in London, which were designed with green credentials in mind. But this takes time, and we've had to restate some targets for 2016. 

The BBC has established 'albert' - a system of measuring the carbon footprint of programme making which has been adopted by organisations across the broadcast sector. CBBC's 'Wizards vs Aliens' - a science fantasy television series - is just one of the programme which has been piloting the next generation of albert, using hybrid generators on location to reduce CO2 emissions. 

We're committed to working with local communities in skills development as well. 

Across the UK, we run work experience programmes for young people from all backgrounds. In London, Radio 1Xtra DJ Charlie Sloth welcomed sixth form students from Hammersmith and Fulham and Westminster boroughs on a BBC Outreach work experience scheme to give them hands-on production experience, opening doors to a career in the industry.

In Bristol, the BBC has a partnership with the Domino Effect project, which works with people with a history of drug and alcohol abuse. The BBC is one of a number of organisations that have provided two week placements which are the first step back into full time work.

In MediaCityUK in Salford, where I work, we are in the second year of our Young Ambassador scheme. These are salaried six month entry-level work placements for 16-19 years olds from the boroughs of Salford and Trafford which enable them to gain core work skills and an NVQ qualification. The scheme is part of BBC North's commitment to the local economy and previous Young Ambassadors have already gone on to apprenticeships, jobs with the BBC, other paid work and college. 

The BBC also runs schemes such as Extend for people with disabilities, and our new technology apprenticeships.

All of these are examples of the ways in which the BBC links with its audiences, informing and enriching the content we make. Outreach for sure, but ‘in-reach’ as well.

And on a wet Friday evening, at a screening in a school hall in Shepherd’s Bush, with a red carpet and a real première atmosphere, it was a privilege to be part of what can be achieved when the BBC and its audiences work together.

Diane Reid is Head of BBC Outreach.


Tagged with:


Jump to comments pagination

This entry is now closed for comments

Share this page

More Posts

Revised guidance on working with children at the BBC

Thursday 19 September 2013, 15:39

Emmy success for BBC drama 'The Hour' with 'a corker' of a script to come

Tuesday 24 September 2013, 18:43

About this Blog

This blog explains what the BBC does and how it works. We link to some other blogs and online spaces inside and outside the corporation. The blog is edited by Jon Jacob.

Follow About the BBC on Twitter

Blog Updates

Stay updated with the latest posts from the blog.

Subscribe using:

What are feeds?

External links about the BBC

Super, smashing, great! Gabby Logan to host celebrity darts Comic Relief special (Express)

Gordon Ramsay's daughter Tilly, 12, gets her own TV cookery show (Parentdish)
"Following in her famous father's footsteps - minus the swearing!"

Melvyn Bragg and John Humphrys in tense standoff on Radio 4 (Guardian)
"Broadcasters go head-to-head after Humphrys calls Bragg's use of present tense to describe historical events irritating"

Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star dies at age 45 after suffering from cancer (Independent)

BBC Sport experiences record-breaking online traffic in June (Digital Spy)
"It beats the previous record of 73.6 million, which was set during the London 2012 Olympics"

BBC helps produce First World War Moocs (Times Higher Education)
"Not only are we proud that the BBC is able to contribute content and co-create the courses…but it also brings that expertise in storytelling"

Jo Brand to front Bake-Off spin-off (Chortle)

Bruce Forsyth returning to screens in BBC variety show (Digital Spy)

Evan Davis to replace Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight (Telegraph)
"it will be an adventure and a challenge, and I hope the viewers will be happy with the result"

MediaCity leads to Salford becoming the UK's property hotspot (Guardian)
"MediaCity and incoming BBC employees have kept Salford going when the market was bad, said one agent"

BBC annual report: Tony Hall announces £374m in annual savings (Independent)

Doctor Who: series 8 looks like a scorcher (Guardian)
"Cybermen sizzle as Peter Capaldi films BBC sci-fi series at London’s St Paul’s Cathedral in the middle of a heatwave"

Sophie Raworth: I get far more work now I am over 40 (Telegraph)
"News presenter Sophie Raworth claims many of her bosses are now female and ageism is no longer an issue for women in the BBC"

Kids tv leads BBC in 'going green' (Ariel)

Naga Munchetty given permanent place on BBC Breakfast sofa following Susanna Reid’s depart (Daily Express)

BBC’s Dominic Coles joins Discovery Networks (Guardian)
"Corporation’s director of operations to be US-based pay-TV giant’s finance and operations chief across western Europe"

World Cup Final 2014: BBC Triumphs Over ITV In TV Ratings War, Over 9 Million More Viewers Tune In (Huffington Post)

BBC Chief Tony Hall Promises a ‘Competition Revolution’ (Variety)

Future Media roles to move to Salford (Ariel)

Wimbledon final watched by 10 million (Guardian)
"Novak Djokovic victory over Roger Federer takes 54% share on BBC1, but no match for Andy Murray’s win last year"

Does Mary Berry Cooks mark a breakthrough for older women on TV?Does Mary Berry Cooks mark a breakthrough for older women on TV? (Guardian)"What results is an unapologetically old-fashioned TV show with a presenter who makes no attempt to disguise when she was born"

Last updated Wednesday 30 July 2014

Blogs from across the BBC

Selected by the About the BBC Blog team.

Art of China: My voyage of discovery [TV]
How seriously should you take scriptwriting books [Writersroom]
My ten best documentarys of the year (so far) [Kermode Uncut]
BBC Sport app on Chromecast [Internet]
The Grimsby Story-Blog by Fusion Youth Theatre [Performing Arts Fund]


Connected Red Buta first look at the new service on Smart TVs [Internet]