I AM so proud to get this first issue of the Weardale Community News, on to paper. It has been a long journey in difficult and unprecedented times. My sincere thanks to Anita Atkinson, for her guidance, support, and advice, in a journey that began without any map. I would also like to thank Paul Turton for his unwavering support. Paul brings a great deal of experience to this project and without him, we would not be where we are today.
My own journey on this adventure began when I learned the Gazette was winding down. Like many others, I took the Gazette for granted and assumed it would be around forever. Sadly, this was not the case. Following a number of consultations and meetings, The Weardale Community News Group (WCNG) was formed. We have since made applications to become a Community Interest Company (CIC), with the sole purpose of publishing a community newspaper that engages and connects Dalefolk, far and wide.
During the first stages of this project, we were supported by John Clarke, of Wolsingham. Between the three of us leading the project, certain decisions were made and one of which was to name the paper ‘WeArDale News’. As some of our members are aware, John is no longer part of WCNG and is producing his own newsletter, perhaps under the banner of ‘Weardale News’. We wish John well with his publication but to ensure that our readers are not confused, myself and Paul have renamed this publication ‘Weardale Community News’.
Weardale Community News will champion all that is good and great about Weardale. From the outset, we agreed that the paper would support all of the organisations, charities, and groups that make Weardale a great place to live and visit. So long as this paper is needed, we will continue that support wherever and whenever we can. Space within all future publications is free of charge to these wonderful people. We also have space allocated to schools and other learning providers.
Many local and regional newspapers have closed over recent years. Social media and online news is everywhere. What we have learned during lockdown is that it is impossible to engage with the entire community all at once. It is for this reason that we brought forward the publication and we hope you enjoy reading and learning with us as we move forward.
This first edition is privately funded. We are not in a position to apply for charitable funding until after the Covid-19 crisis. We will also need the support of Dalefolk who can get involved with managing and leading the paper. If you have any spare time to offer, we welcome applications to join us. We are especially keen to hear from those who could join our management board, roving reporters and budding journalists. Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to get involved. Membership is open to all, no matter what your background.
Finally, another big thank you to all of the contributors. Your support, time and efforts are greatly appreciated.