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The turkey’s ready for the oven, the mulled wine is bubbling and we’re all still trying to get home on the cross city line – yes, it’s just another Christmas in Lichfield and Burntwood.
There’s no doubt that 2019 has been another interesting year for people living, working and generally existing across the district.
But despite 12 months which has seen increased division, anger and downright hatred at times on the national stage, this year has had some real highlights for our area and this little website.
We’ve seen great examples of the community in action. The work to save Friary Grange Leisure Centre showed that people care – something we often forget – and can be listened to if they’re prepared to make themselves heard.
Let’s not forget that but for residents mobilising in double-quick time, the city could be without a facility that would have impacted on individuals and the many groups who survive purely because they can use the gym, the swimming pool and other elements of the site.
We’ve also seen somewhat of a change in Burntwood too. Yes, commenters on Lichfield Live are keen to keep suggesting that the town gets a raw deal, but it is pleasing to see politicians in Burntwood playing nicely for a change, with a real sense of working for the common good of residents (even if it does mean less stories for us about their various fallings out).
But for us, the biggest surprise is that we’ve even reached Christmas 2019.
We started the predecessor of Lichfield Live more than a decade ago, never imagining it would grow to become what it has today.
Despite children, full-time jobs and having to have a life beyond this little corner of the internet, both myself and Phil (who I will be eternally thankful to for keeping the site working) still manage to find time to keep trying to offer updates on the district.
We might not always get it right and cover every inch of ‘the patch’ – and commenters often remind us of this! – but we have still published more than 95,000 articles since we began. Not bad going all things considered.
This milestone year has also seen us achieve highly commended status in the website of the year category at the Midlands Media Awards. Not only were we the only member of the shortlist not published by a professional organisation, but we also beat websites from some of the biggest names in the UK media landscape.
We’ve also tipped our toe in the print water too this year, working on a small booklet with a charity in a bid to tackle the issue of loan sharks in parts of the city.
But the biggest joy 2019 has brought is the sheer number of people who have decided to make us their go to point for news and information about Lichfield and Burntwood.
We’ve only been collecting data for around five years and we’ve seen our readership almost quadruple since then, with 2019 smashing through the one million page views landmark last month – not bad for a site produced from office desks, sofas, train seats and bedrooms during the past decade.
So thank you to everyone who clicks, shares, comments (and moans!), submits or just tells us about what’s going on in their world. It simply wouldn’t be possible to produce Lichfield Live were it not for the people who do all of the above, as well as acting as our eyes and ears to the ground across the district.
All of us at Lichfield Live hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and an even happier New Year.