Dispatch AGM hears of growth of independent community journalism in West Leeds

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West Leeds dispatch community reporters
West Leeds Dispatch community reporters enjoyed a training course at New Wortley Community Centre

It’s been a year of growth for the Dispatch, West Leeds Community Media’s AGM heard this week.

Instead of holding our AGM in the pub or a community centre as we have in previous years, this time we held it in a socially distanced way online, via Zoom.

As well as electing board members, reviewing the past year of West Leeds Dispatch and looking to the future, we were delighted to welcome Emma Meese as a guest speaker.

Emma spoke about the work of the Independent Community News Network (ICNN), which supports organisations like the Dispatch to play a huge role in local democracy.

ICNN, which the Dispatch was the first member of, exists to support this diverse sector and to promote quality journalism, help address the democratic deficit in news poor communities and help create more jobs at the local level.

Dispatch editor John Baron said the site, which was relaunched with a new look back in July, had received hundreds of thousands of visits during lockdown, highlighting the need for and importance of trustworthy and reliable local news.

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John also hailed the support of more than 40 community reporters, who have between them contributed around 600 articles since May last year. The highlight of which was having 25 different contributors write for August’s pilot print edition, which was supported financially by a 5,000 Euro grant from the European Journalism COVID-19 Support Fund.

We also formally welcomed our new chair, Anne Akers, a former journalist and an experienced communications and engagement consultant from Calverley, who brings a raft of project management expertise with her. Regular readers will recognise her reports from Calverley and her regular Anne’s Patch column.

John also thanked the volunteer-led board, community reporters and our amazing supporters who contribute financially each month for their continued support – every single one of you makes a difference to the running of our community led operation.

Your support is very much appreciated. Put simply, the Dispatch would not exist without you.

If you’d like to join our volunteer-led project to better connect people to what’s happening in their community, please drop us an e-mail on news@westleedsdispatch.com.

Please support community led independent journalism in West Leeds…

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