The Week In Community
The future in your hands
A letter from the proprietor
Twelve years ago I launched a local newspaper in the Keynsham and Saltford area because I felt there was a lack of accurate and genuinely independent reporting on what was happening in the area.
Since then, The Week In has become a trusted voice which is read online and in print by many thousands of people each week throughout East Bristol and North East Somerset. It has always been a small but profitable business and has remained totally independent.
Over the last twelve months I have been giving a lot of thought to how The Week In can continue to fulfil its role in the community beyond the point where I am involved personally. While I have been blessed to have a small and loyal team working around me, life moves on and we all become older.
Owning The Week In has always been about more than just paying the bills. Seeing people’s reaction when I am out delivering or receiving letters and emails from readers reminds me that this publication is far more rooted in its community than other national or regional publications. I have often used the phrase that the community has taken ownership of The Week In and now I want to create a legacy whereby that’s exactly what happens.
In a few weeks’ time, a new organisation will publish The Week In. The Week In Community Ltd is a Community Benefit Society under the Cooperative and Community Benefits Act 2014. As a society, it is not owned by individuals but equally by its members. Profits do not go to the shareholders but are re-invested into the community it serves.
Anyone over the age of 16 can become a member of the society on payment of an annual membership fee and they will receive one equal share and one vote. Outwardly, nothing will change. The Week In will still be free to pick up each week or to read online. The current team will continue to publish the paper but will report to a management committee. I will stand for election to that committee each year for as long as I want to continue, or that the members want me.
Subsequently, we have other plans to involve the membership in the future direction of The Week In and more details of these will be published in the coming weeks. Becoming involved is not conditional however. If you simply feel you want to support the future of local interest journalism by becoming a member, you are most welcome to do so.
While COVID-19 may have added to the challenges facing local media at the moment, my legacy plans were being formulated well beforehand. Lockdown earlier this year actually postponed the announcement of The Week In Community Ltd but if anything, it has also reinforced my belief that publication has a vital role in the future of our local community. While I intend to be part of that future role for as long as I am able, I firmly believe that it ultimately should be in your hands for the longer term.