Talking about our future plans

Our meeting last week
A chat in the pub. (Picture: Chris Taylor)

Thank you to all of those people who gave up their Tuesday evening last week to join us at The White Swan in Charlton for our launch event. We’re particularly grateful to Emma Meese of Cardiff University’s Centre for Community Journalism, Kathryn Geels of the Engaged Journalism Accelerator, James Hatts of and Peter Cordwell, former editor of the Greenwich Mercury, for speaking.

We hope that Tuesday night gave a flavour of what we’re planning to do in the future. Our two sites, 853 and The Charlton Champion, will continue and will be improved over time – including, we hope, making our advertising open to local businesses.

We’ve two initial plans: one is to expand 853’s reporting into Lewisham by finding someone who can cover Lewisham Council stories in the same way Darryl does. The ongoing redevelopment of Deptford and Lewisham, and the coming redevelopment of Catford, will affect Greenwich residents too – particularly if the Bakerloo line comes to our doorstep. Yet no outlet is really on top of quite what is going on there in the same way that 853 tracks developments in Greenwich and Woolwich. We’d like to fix that; ideally by the autumn. Funding it is going to be a challenge – we may need to launch a new crowdfunding appeal to do it – but if you’ve journalism experience, live in/near the borough of Lewisham and are happy with scouring council agendas, sitting in meetings and translating them all into compelling copy, get in touch: hello[at]

Secondly, and more ambitiously, we’d like to go into print. In Woolwich. Printed papers can reach the communities and people that social media doesn’t reach – or deters. And they give a place an identity. We think a printed paper focusing on Woolwich, Plumstead and Shooters Hill could be a winner. It wouldn’t be a weekly – that model is, at the moment, broken. But a paper every other month could reflect an area that’s changing rapidly, and restore some pride to the area. (Take a look at the Tottenham Community Press or Peckham Peculiar to see what we mean.) It’ll be a big job and it’s very, very early days – funding could either come from grants or crowdfunding or a mixture of both, and we’d need to find someone who can sell ads. If you have writing, design or sales skills, or can help us get this off the ground in some other way, get in touch: hello[at]

There are other things we can do – particularly in Charlton, to develop The Charlton Champion. In the next few months we will make some tweaks to the site. This should help us to make some more money in advertising revenue, which will then hopefully enable us to put more into the site.

We also had some discussions about how we obtain funding, the sort of stories we publish, whether or not we should re-enable comments on the sites, and how to let people know what they can do to support us.

We’re planning to hold more events in future months as we develop our plans for the future – keep an eye on this website and our social media for more information.