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Business & Economy

Podcast to become voice for grassroots sport across the UK

Ambitious plans to position a North East organisation at the heart of the UK’s grassroots sport scene are gathering pace following the announcement of a new podcast featuring established stars and unsung heroes.

Sony Award-winning radio presenter and commentator Justin Lockwood will front the fortnightly GiveToLocal podcast – introducing the people and personalities who embody the positivity of community sport.

Guests will include a mix of household names, grassroots stalwarts and business leaders who share a passion for using the power of sport to promote health, wellbeing and a connection to local communities.

“Podcasts are so different to commercial radio because they’re like an open space,” explains Justin, who hosts the matchday action at St James’s Park and Kingston Park following a successful stint anchoring Heart FM’s breakfast show in the North East.

“An interview can go off in all sorts of different directions and there’s no pressure to move it in any particular direction either.

“It’s about where the conversation needs to go and that really excites me.

“I love getting to know people and with the GiveToLocal podcast it’ll be like having a blank piece of paper and then being able to fill it with whoever we have on.

“I love speaking to all kinds of people but I’ve got a big interest in sport and could talk about that all day!

“For me, an interview is about listening. It shouldn’t be all about preparing what you, as the interviewer, are going to say. It’s about listening to your guest and we’ll be hearing from some great guests on the GiveToLocal podcast.”

News of the podcast comes just 48 hours after the North East Times announced a formal partnership with GiveToLocal – with both organisations committed to raising the profile of grassroots sport across the region.

“Both of these moves are designed to spread the word about what we do and how we can help community clubs achieve a sustainable level of income,” explains GiveToLocal CEO and co-founder Neil Gardiner.

“In addition, we now have two new platforms where we can offer key voices in the sporting and business communities an opportunity to explain why the grassroots game is worthy of support – now more than ever.

“Justin has become a popular and familiar face to the GiveToLocal community as the host of our daily giveaways. He is a trusted figure within sport and an excellent ambassador for our organisation.

“I can’t wait to see who he brings to the table and I’m convinced his conversations will become essential listening for everyone who’s interested in sport.”

Justin’s bulging contacts book includes big names from across the world of sport and media.

And he is already compiling a wishlist of potential guests prior to the podcast launch later this summer.

GiveToLocal supporters – and England international cricketers – Steve Harmison and Mark Wood have been tipped to get a seat at the GiveToLocal podcast table.

And Justin is readying chats with famous names from football, Rugby Union, Rugby League and more.

“There are so many angles and so many great stories to be told,” he adds. “One thing that’s common to elite athletes is that they started out in grassroots sport and they never forget where they’ve come from.

“That’s why the GiveToLocal podcast has so much potential. It will resonate with the people who do so much to keep community sport alive as well as with fans of the big names.”

Justin joined the GiveToLocal team earlier this year and has been synonymous with the North Tyneside-based organisation’s ability to pivot successfully in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’ve really enjoyed the journey so far,” he adds. “When Neil first approached me and asked me to get involved, I could see how passionate he was about it.

“To see so many teams suddenly get involved and be able to grasp the concept and be able to understand what we’re trying to do has been really pleasing.

“Some of that explaining falls on my shoulders and I’m constantly trying to cut out all of the waffle that comes with being a presenter!

“I feel like things are really going from strength to strength. It’s been great seeing clubs winning stuff from the giveaways and new corporate partners coming on board to support that too. It’s been enjoyable seeing GiveToLocal grow…and we’re growing quickly!”

For the latest news on GiveToLocal’s upcoming podcasts visit