Make Your Local News Work support UCV Plain Speaker!

Make Your Local News Work, a project run by Coops UK and Carnegie UK Trust, have just emailed to say that Changing More Than Lightbulbs’ (the former name for UCV Plain Speaker) application for support has been successful, and that this is a “tremendous achievement”!

Very happy about this 🙂 🙂 🙂

This is some of what the letter said,

” Thank you for applying to the Make Your Local News Work project which aims to support communities to take control of their local media and news and create more sustainable and accountable business models that draw on co-operative values and principles.


I am delighted to advise that you have been successful in your application to receive free specialist follow-up support. We had an outstanding range of quality applications so this is a tremendous achievement.”


A few weeks ago I attended a useful Make Your Local News Work training session in Manchester, and the Changing More Than Lightbulbs steering group decided we would apply for follow up support.

We’ve asked for advice on:

  • how to make CMTL pay for itself (Interested in the possibility of reader subscriptions, selling the public service dimension of CMTL, rather than articles themselves – what do readers think? Would you be willing to subscribe to CMTL, so we can keep going? You can let us know via the contact form, or in the reply box at the bottom of this post)
  • Where to access a small amount of money to upgrade/reformat the website, so that it’s easier to navigate, laid out in a visually clear magazine format
  • Advice on legal/governance issues – should we be a coop, and if so what kind?
  • Advice on feasibility/research – eg working out how much money CMTL needs to survive and how feasible it is to raise that, whether we’re providing the right kind of reporting on social, economic, environmental and climate justice issues to help bring about real-world change, whether we could take on more writers and pay them, etc

What CMTL is trying to do

The CMTL application for support from Make Your Local News Work explained what we are trying to do, how and why:

Mission: through original reporting, to hold to account powerful local organisations and individuals; and to curate news from elsewhere that has a bearing on local matters, particularly relating to social, economic, environmental and climate justice.

Aims: to open local institutions and businesses to public scrutiny, in order to strengthen local democracy and enhance public conversations about how to put into practice the principles of social, economic and environmental justice.

The (reformatted) website will be the main means of delivering our reporting.

Intended audience is the whole range of social groups/communities of interest in the Upper Calder Valley. We plan to deliver quarterly live events, to encourage public discussion of significant news stories and reach new audiences.

Interested in working with other hyper-local and local media to help build a South Pennines local media network.

As ever, we’re interested in knowing what readers think, so please feel free to tell us.

Update: This post was written when the website was still called Changing More Than Lightbulbs. The name change to UCV Plain Speaker is one of the outcomes of the Make Your Local News Work consultancy. It aims to more clearly state what the website’s for.

5 thoughts on “Make Your Local News Work support UCV Plain Speaker!

  1. I think Westminster has alot to answer for – by controlling the budget they decide where the money is spent – that’s where the real power lies. If local people could control their own budget allocations then it would shift power away from Westminster and back to the people who would be empowered to create their own dynamic local area.

  2. While a high quality news site such as this needs to pay for itself I think subscription charges would be a mistake – by cutting off readership you would be defeating the object of disemminating critical information widely. Better to sell local, national and international advertising space on the website – the current model for free information and if it makes it easier to sell advertising – a printed edition (similar to the free Hebden glossy) which covers costs through local advertising.

    • Thanks for comment. We haven’t decided yet what the best way is of making the website pay for itself – had first skype talk with our Make Your Local News Work adviser yesterday, and we’re planning to meet him soon to discuss things properly. The idea of asking readers to pay to keep the website going wouldn’t be to put a pay wall round the site, which would cut off readership as you say. Instead, it would be more like the Fox and Goose community share offer, which has let people buy shares to keep the pub going, but you can still go and have a drink there without having bought a share in it. Don’t think selling advertising on the website is the way to go, for all sorts of reasons. Idea of a monthly print magazine with local advertising though is interesting – Make Your Local News Work has told us of a Scottish hyper local website in a similar sized community as Hebden that does this and makes it work financially.

      • I enjoy the articles on this site. Hebden Bridge is no futher ahead of the curve than any other town of its size in this country when it comes to sustainability. The glossy (Hebden Bridge Matters) arrives through the letterbox – it does a nice job promoting local people but does not specifically cover current affairs though they’re always casting out for local writers. The more discussion the merrier and I like what you’re doing on this website so good luck with up-scaling it.

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