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.
“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.
“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.