THE strange times that we live in have inspired all sorts of creativity and new ways of doing things.

Throughout the country enterprising groups have sprung up all over - supporting communities and keeping people engaged.

Many of them have worked tirelessly and been a lifeline to countless people.

As lockdown has eased and people have been able to get back to a more normal way of life, lots of the groups have no longer been needed. They have consequently bowed out - having done a great job.

But one group that was set up at the start of lockdown in the hope of keeping a community together within the safety of their own homes has proved a massive - and very much ongoing - success.

Charles Bagshaw and a team of like-minded locals set up St Bees Community Radio earlier this year. Within 100 days it had proved a huge hit, with more than 250,000 people tuning in to listen and lots more people signing up to play a part.

So, this week, we would like to give a big shout out to the original radio team – made up of Charles, Demi McDowell, Nathan Steele, Chris Lockie, Dave Morgan and Lee Shackley.

"It was started by accident," said Charles, a sustainability consultant who lives in St Bees.

"At the beginning of lockdown work had dried up and I talked with friends about what we could do in the community.

"I set up the radio station and put something on Facebook.

"It just took off. Within the first 100 days we'd had lots of events, from a prom to doorstep disco. We got up to 250,000 listeners.

"It's been phenomenal. Initially it was about sharing music, keeping the community connected and avoiding boredom."

Over the months it has grown to include 40 shows a week, with everything from a kids' corner to a local history slot.

It broadcasts 24/7 and has created merchandise to help with funding.

Kate Jackson, who is part of the radio team, said: "Charles and the original team deserve credit.

"This has expanded greater than we ever imagined, connecting a lot of people throughout the community, everyone listening and taking part."