The work of Lichfield Live has been boosted with the creation of a new community interest company.

Lichfield Community Media CIC has been developed to ensure the long term future of the site.

Since its inception more than 10 years ago, the team of volunteer contributors behind Lichfield Live have delivered news and information from across the area.

Philip John, one of the site’s volunteers, said the move would help ensure a sustainable future for the publication.

Philip John

“Being a CIC means we’re a social enterprise committed to working in the interests of the community.

“We’ve had to specify who our community is and how they benefit from our activities, and that’s been reviewed and approved by the regulator.

“It also means that none of us in charge of the CIC can take out any profit – if we do make a profit it must all be reinvested into the business to further benefit the community, or be distributed to good causes.

“So far Lichfield Live has been a part-time hobby reliant on the goodwill of volunteers.

“This milestone means we can better pursue sustainability as a local business, giving security to our critical role as a publisher of community journalism.”

Philip John, Lichfield Live

“A labour of love for all of us involved”

The role of Lichfield Live has evolved over the past decade.

From an initial blog started by former Lichfield Post journalist Ross Hawkes, the site has expanded to cover a broad range of local topics and issues.

And as the site nears publication of its 100,000th article, Ross said the move to a CIC was a welcome one.

Ross Hawkes

“Working on Lichfield Live has definitely been a labour of love for all of us involved – and we wouldn’t be where we are without the support of those people who have contributed over the years, both in terms of stories and funding.

“But recent events have made us think about the role of our website in the community.

“The coronavirus outbreak has seen traditional publishers cease publishing at a time when increasing numbers of local people are looking for a reliable source of news and information – and we’re proud to say that we’ve actually increased our efforts during this time.

“We’ve also seen Lichfield Live become involved in broader community activities, such as the recent production of a community newsletter to promote the Stop Loan Sharks initiative.

“And during the coronavirus lockdown, we’ve also helped to organise the regular virtual pub quiz.

“The future is definitely bright for Lichfield Live, but the time has come to try and help it grow further by allowing us to create a sustainable product in order to carry on benefiting communities in Lichfield and Burntwood.”

Ross Hawkes, Lichfield Live

Joining Ross and Phil in forming the company are two long-time supporters of the site.

Steve Lightfoot brings a wealth of experience of the voluntary sector in the area, while Paul Groves’ 30 years of experience in journalism and publishing ensure a strong focus for the CIC going forward.

The group will soon be offering details of how others can get involved in developing the organisation going forward.

Ross

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

12 replies on “New chapter for Lichfield Live with creation of community interest company”

  1. Reading that has really cheered me up.
    I’ll bet there’s a fair few people in the district who would willing to chip in financially to support your journalism. Any thought on how we could do so?

  2. This is excellent news – for you and for Lichfield and the surrounding district.
    I truly hope this sees Lichfield Live go from strength to strength.
    High quality local journalism has been alive and well in our area for many years thanks to the efforts of everyone involved in this site.
    Maintaining a strong, professional, readable and most importantly independent local news source is vital and Lichfield Live is a resource we should all value and cherish.

  3. A note of caution perhaps? Any amateur set up is bound to be different to a paid staff situation. Traditionally the news content of commercial news channels is dictated by the paymasters.
    There is no such thing as a ‘not for profit organisation’. Branson proposed running the National Lottery on such a basis. Obviously expenses, pensions, running costs, and various other expedients would have been sufficient compensation.
    This is a good initiative, and it is needed. The future of local news has to be online. Like all enterprise it will succeed or fail on its merits. At the moment it’s interactive connectivity with readers is good. I just hope it’s editorial content and neutrality will not be compromised by a new professional status.
    Of course this is not the National press. It’s importance is to a local population. Exciting for the new directors, and hopefully exciting for us.

  4. Bloody hell Philip Allso, you must be fun at parties. I must have missed the bit in the story where they said Rupert Murdoch was buying the website.

    I think you’re missing the fact that these guys have been doing this since Friarsgate was a lad. I’d imagine this allows them to try and access alternative routes of funding to cover their costs rather than buy a yacht and move their tax address to the Bahamas.

  5. @Philip Allso

    I’d encourage you to read our articles of association, which are online at Companies House for all to see along with the fine details of who is in control and how much control each person has. I’d also suggest looking up community interest companies and the detail in our articles about what we are allowed to do with any profit, if we do make any, and any assets we have in the event of winding up. We *are* a not-for-profit, constituted using a legal status specifically designed for such a set up and everything about the company is in the open, completely transparent to the community we are here to serve.

  6. Wilf…. perhaps you missed the word ‘bussiness’. That suggests a different status. I am not denigrating the efforts these ‘guy’s’ have done over a long period. Indeed it is totally laudable. The general maxim is that you don’t change anything without changing everything. I have seen many businesses expand beyond their viability. Have a walk around Lichfield, you might notice a few.
    Who knows, these friendly exchanges might disappear like on many other sites. On thing for certain is that it is very difficult to go back.
    On the party front… Give me a try….I will bring my guitar!

  7. Expand beyond their viability? Give it a rest, Lord Sugar. Your glass clearly isn’t even half full.

  8. Good God Wilf…. what with Lord Sugar and Rupert Murdoch on my contact list I might find it difficult to attend your party after all. Still, I will probably get a full glass from them!

  9. This is great news – this is a brilliant resource and I’m delighted it’s going to grow in strength. Well done guys!

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