Help crowdfund your community news company!

by James Harrington in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom

Help crowdfund your community news company!

Total raised £1,106

£5,000 target 6 days left
22% 41 supporters
Keep what you raise – this project will receive all pledges made by 6th March 2024 at 4:29pm

Could you be one of the people who sets up Wendover News for its second life?

by James Harrington in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom

Wendover Community News CIC: With your help, we can do great things for Wendover and the surrounding area.

Wendover News needs your help! To take us into the next phase of switching from being a well-loved but privately owned business, to a great community resource, we already have enthusiastic volunteers, but we also need working capital to get it going. Hence this crowdfunding appeal. Read on to find out why Wendover News is such a great cause!

Wendover needs good news...

Wendover is a delightful little town on the northern edge of the UK’s Chilterns. It’s a community which has been affected by all the same crises as everybody else in England but has also been devastated by the construction of HS2. In a few years, it will be affected by the withdrawal of the RAF from the edge of the town and its replacement by new housing. Yet it is a thriving community, and we want you to help to keep it that way.

Since 1989, our community and local businesses have been served by the free, now colour, magazine: Wendover News.

Sadly, Janes Larkham, the private owner of Wendover News is being forced to step down.  After 35 years she feels it's the right time to pass on the title to people who will continue to care for it. The people of Wendover decided that it was such a useful resource to connect our many small local businesses with the community, that we have formed a not-for-profit community interest company (CIC), to continue its publication. Jane will stay on at Wendover News, as one of our volunteers.

In good hands

The new community interest company is currently unfunded! It’s not-for-profit and run by volunteers, but we still need a small start-up fund to get going and cover the printing costs for the first few editions, after which we anticipate it will be self-funding. From a standing start in May last year, the volunteer team has already produced nine editions of the magazine, with printing and production costs covered by the existing publisher. From this April, if financial self-sufficiency has been achieved, the community company will formally take over the title and become the publisher, recognised and regulated by IMPRESS.

To do that, we’re looking to raise £5,000 from you, the people and businesses of Wendover, which will be generously match-funded by a further £5,000 from the local Lionel Abel-Smith Trust, and that start-up funding will mean we can keep bringing you Wendover News!

Wendover News, reborn

Would you like to be able to say that you were one of the people who set up Wendover News for its second life? No matter how little or how much, every contribution will help. If you ever read Wendover News to find out what’s on, or use the adverts as a way to find local trades and businesses, please consider whether you can make a donation to keep the resource thriving under its new community ownership.

We’d also love to hear your ideas for how a community-owned publication can benefit local people and businesses even more.

Exciting plans

The new community interest company plans to continue to evolve the magazine, increasing the pages from 24 to 32, increasing the proportion of content created by our own writers, with more from community authors. We will continue to print at least 5,000 copies each month and to deliver them to over 4,000 letterboxes, with the remainder made available in shops, libraries, and other public buildings in the area. 

We have also updated the website (but not as much as we would have liked) and added online copies of each edition to join those from the previous nine years. See here for past editions. This is already a valuable archive of local, reliably sourced information which can be accessed by you, the community, free of charge. Increasingly, we will be putting more detailed articles on the website, linked from a shorter version in the print edition.  

But this is only half the story. Working almost entirely from our own homes at this level, the team is confident that this could be a great opportunity for greater community involvement. 

With your help we can provide training, coaching and work experience for many people in Wendover and the surrounding area. The funding will enable us to help aspiring writers and influencers to understand the basic disciplines of journalism and give students contemplating media careers real experience of print and online content production processes. As a social enterprise, it will enable would-be entrepreneurs to learn the realities of running a business as part of the team. Mid-career managers can gain an understanding of what it means to be a board member. 

Together, we can also help parents and carers getting back to work to regain their confidence by being part of the team; young adults fill their CVs with quality experience – and give school leavers something to talk about when they attend their first job interview.

Community involvement is a big part of our ambition. The magazine will include opportunities for readers to become community authors and see their name on a page – and be helped in the process by trained volunteers with valuable experience. We will be holding a series of workshops to train contributors and advertisers so that they won’t have to worry about having their articles rejected or advertisements looking bad on the page.

 

It works!

We have proved that it works, by producing all aspects of Wendover News since June 2023, using volunteers. The core team is three times larger than it was this time last year and the volunteers include media professionals, a chartered manager, a career journalist, a software engineer, legal experts, a musician, a novelist, a teacher of English and collectively, a rich repository of experience to call upon. 

Our team also includes over 60 people who go out in all weathers to deliver over 4,000 copies through letterboxes every month.

Wendover News is not ending – it is being reborn. And your donation will make it happen! Together, we can work through all the changes that are coming down the line and build a better, more vibrant community. Keep reading Wendover News  to discover other opportunities for getting involved as a volunteer: as a community author or in one of the core volunteer roles that will be advertised over the next six months!

While you are here...

We can't miss a chance to repeat that we still need volunteers – particularly with accounting and book-keeping skills, administrators, training and development managers, journalists, proof-reading and production editors (InDesign, ideally...). We particularly need volunteers with social media management skills at any level – specifically Facebook, Instagram and that other one which we can't stop calling 'Twitter'.

If you would like to get involved, in any context, email: [email protected]


Rewards

This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£20 or more

This will go a long way!

If you look at the cost of producing each edition and divide it by the number of copies we print, then your donation will get a copy delivered through 20 letterboxes for one month!

£5 or more

A big thank you from all the volunteers!

Thanks from everybody at Wendover News. We like to know that you appreciate it – and that is just what you have shown us!

£50 or more

It's people like you that make it worthwhile.

Thanks for putting your money where your mouth is. Communities only work when people are willing to put something in – and you've just done that! Thank you.

£100 or more

You've made over sixty dedicated deliverers happy!

We have over sixty people who put Wendover News through letterboxes. Your donation will allow us to get them together once a month so that we can let them know how appreciated they are and sort out any problems or opportunities they encounter. It will pay for the venue and a cuppa for who ever turns up each month.

£250 or more

We'll be running a great workshop, thanks to you!

We'll be using your donation to help towards the cost of designing and running one of workshops for community authors, advertisers, proofreaders or new volunteers at a subsidised rate.

£500 or more

Your money could launch a career (or several)

Your very kind donation will help us put a programme in place to launch the career of a person wanting to go into journalism, media, communications – or one of the exciting new media that is crying out for good, sensible trustworthy content creators.

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