50 issues on — what our community thinks about local news.

This May our newspaper, Waltham Forest Echo, celebrated its 50th issue. To mark the occasion we created a film with local people and hosted a party with our community.

Local people explain what having a local newspaper means to them

Five years ago we (Social Spider CIC) were part of a group of local charities and social enterprises looking for new ways of working together to develop local projects.

One idea we kept coming back to was the need for independent local newspaper that wasn’t run by the council and enabled local people and community organisations to talk about their work and hold power to account. Eventually we managed to put in an Awards for All bid to help with the first year’s costs. Then lots of talented, socially-focused people worked hard for 5 years.

The Echo’s editor, James Cracknell, has edited 43 of the 50 issues.

“Publishing 50 editions of Waltham Forest Echo in the era of smartphones and social media is a fantastic achievement. This film really sums up the reason we launched the paper in 2014 and shows why community newspapers still play such an important role in people’s lives.”

— James Cracknell, Echo editor

On top of making the film, we hosted an event for our community at local venue Today Bread.

The event included a quiz about our area inspired by stories from the paper, as well as an Article of the Year competition.

We are very pleased to announce that the winner of the Article of the Year Award was local teenager, Tanner Reid-Brady.

Following the tragic death of his friend, Tanner Reid-Brady decided to write for the Echo to explain the problems facing young people in Waltham Forest:

“The reality for many young people living in violent communities is that opting out of this is very difficult, and for some impossible. It feels like self fulfilling prophecy; many young people carry knives for protection but that seems to attract trouble from other knife carriers. Fear of police, stop and search, or knife detection arches, are of no real concern to them. The police don’t carry the same level of threat as other youths.”

You can read the whole article here:

We are so incredibly proud to provide a platform for members of our community to share their experiences and write about the things that matter to them. Being able to feature the voices of community members like Tanner Reid-Brady is a huge part of what motivates us to publish the Echo and we’re very pleased to recognise his work with this award. We want to extend our thanks to all of our supporters: from contributors, to members, to advertisers, to readers. It is because of you that we are able to celebrate this anniversary and we hope to be able to continue to serve you for many years to come.

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Start Spreading the News is a place to find out about Social Spider CIC’s community newspapers: Waltham Forest Echo; Tottenham Community Press; Enfield Dispatch

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