BBC Describe Corby as an Area of ‘High Unemployment and Deprivation’

28 February 2011

 We interrupt this broadcast…

By Cathy Loughran – Deputy Editor, Ariel.  (Ariel is the BBC staff newspaper. A weekly publication of news, analysis and opinion, it is distributed free to staff and is also available to the public by subscription. It comes out on Tuesdays.)

Ariel also has an online news service which is only available internally within the BBC.

“On-air success against the odds

It may be the BBC’s worst-equipped station, but Radio Northampton still manages to make its mark.

With an average weekly audience of around 100,000, and share that has been fairly stable at about 20% over the last 6-7 years, it scores above average for an urban/rural mix station – spanning both the relatively wealthy south of Northamptonshire and areas of high unemployment and deprivation in places like Corby and communities in Northampton itself. In a county with a growing population, the city centre station adds significant numbers of solus listeners (licence payers who only listen to their local radio station and no other radio).”

The BBC make great play of stating on their web pages “The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites”, well, after publishing such offensive internal content like this I don’t think they need worry!  How about, by way of an apology they refund last years licence fee to every ‘deprived’ postcode address in the Corby borough? Though this wouldn’t include Rockingham Castle which still refuses to acknowledge it proximity to Corby. It lists its address as follows: Rockingham Castle, Rockingham, Market Harborough, Leicestershire, LE16 8TH. Despite its Leicestershire postcode it is,  in fact, in Northamptonshire, CORBY, nowhere near Market Harborugh!

Having worked in other area’s of Northamptonshire I’m more than aware of the way in which my home town of Corby has been perceived, even by people who have never set foot in in the place. A reputation, good or bad, can brand anywhere or individual for life. This is not to say that Corby, like any similar sized town, hasn’t had its fair share of problems over the years, of course it has and there is always the danger that sentimentality might cloud reality. However I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t hurt just a tad to hear someone in a workplace say they’re heading off to Corby only to be greeted with comments such as ‘don’t forget your stab vest’ or ‘ got your Jock dictionary?’. (BBC Radio Northampton 2001-2005). They were talking about a place that has given my family a home and work for the best part of sixty years, and their surprise was evident when I expressed my genuine offence at their remarks. Then they’d tell me not to be so touchy, or they’re only joking:  ‘get that chip off your shoulder’ one man once said. Some who read this will sadly still make derogatory remarks about Corby. Then the other day I was so pleasantly surprised when I heard a couple from Market Harborough say that they’d just spent a lovely day shopping in Corby. Yes: a lovely day. They didn’t have their lovely day in Kettering, Wellingborough, Northampton or Leicester. They had something genuinely complimentary to say about ‘my old’ Corby. Even I was taken aback. I can’t ever remember anyone saying that about Corby. I mean, even Corby folk had travelled to Kettering or Harborough for a bit of ‘decent’ shopping in days gone by. So I decided to take yet another look at the Corby town centre of today, trying to be as objective as I could. That said I have to admit that the old multi storey car park is still a bit of an eye-sore, and some of the old shops near to where the Co-op used to be are looking tired and dated. On the other side of town the ‘Strathclyde-council offices have certainly seen better days. Then one sees the Cube. Love it or loath it, this is the sign of a future – a town vision taken from an artists impression and made reality. I took another walk through the new town centre, stopping off for a coffee en route. There’s no question that one could spend a pleasant few hours shopping here and there’s even my favourite burger place in town. Result. If I have one criticism of the new layout it is this. Finding a toilet is an issue. There are facilities, of course: it’s just their location that I find irritating. Apart from that, my conclusion would be that everyone from the rest of Northamptonshire and surrounding counties should do what I did. Visit the ‘new’ Corby with new eyes and leave the stab vest at home.  Believe me, deprived ‘it aint’!


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