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Former JP staffers celebrate first anniversary of start-up

An award-winning weekly newspaper set up by a group of former Johnston Press staffers is celebrating its first year in business.

Friday marked the anniversary of the inaugural edition of the Spalding & South Holland Voice, a freesheet set up by four ex-employees of the Lincolnshire Free Press and Spalding Guardian.

The initial quartet – editor Rachel Mayfield, sports editor Andrew Clucas, photographer and advert designer Nikki Clucas and production editor Tracey Sweetland – decided to go it alone after facing voluntary redundancy or role changes at their previous titles.

It has since become a 10-person operation and to celebrate the anniversary last week’s edition of the newspaper included a special feature marking the fact more than 500 different businesses and individuals have advertised with the Voice since its inauguration.

The anniversary edition of the Voice

The anniversary edition of the Voice

It also featured a reader competition to win a television and the launch of a new charity, The Voice Community Fund, to help deserving groups and people on its patch.

The first edition was delivered to 10,000 homes in Spalding as well as being stocked in outlets across the South Holland area of Lincolnshire, whereas now less copies are delivered door-to-door and more stocked in central outlets.

In November, the paper won the best small/new business of the year prize at the South Holland Business Awards.

A digital edition of the Voice is also now available online.

Said Andrew: “Deciding to launch our own newspaper was both the scariest and best thing we’ve ever done professionally. It’s been an eye-opening experience for us all with plenty of ups and downs, but we’re all very proud of what we’ve achieved so far.

“We’re very much newspaper people, so to have total control of what the paper looks like and feels like is a real buzz. It’s great to enjoy being a journalist again.

“Our plan is, and will always be, to be a free publication with a strong digital presence.

“We’ve been very fortunate to enjoy great feedback from our readers and amazing support from a growing list of advertisers. Without that, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.”


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  • April 21, 2015 at 9:17 am

    This is a dangerous way to go. If too many people decide they want to be “journalists again”, and not content harvesters/curators based 20 miles away from their patches, then what happens to the big outfits? Stop this truly locally-based nonsense now and return to your secure and high-flying JP careers. You’re giving the business a good… sorry, bad, name!

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  • April 21, 2015 at 9:38 am

    I do hope they’re making money.
    The JP paper I worked for just sucked cash out of the town and never gave back.
    No sponsorship of community events, minimal staffing, printing done elsewhere. Features advertising businesses from outside the region, though I doubt many of the district’s elderly would go to the House of Fraser website..

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  • April 21, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Many congratulations to the Spalding team – a great paper with a hard-working staff pushing back against the faceless JP where management think that closing the front doors and pushing everything online or to India is the way to go. Long may JP stick to the self-destruct route so more papers like the Voice can succeed. Journalists enjoying themselves? How very dare they!

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  • April 21, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    A truly local paper with local news and written by local people, the way things used to be. These journalist know the area and the people who live here. Im pleased they are enjoying what they do as much we enjoy reading what they’ve written.Keep up the good work.

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  • April 21, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    Well done to all of you. Great to see former JP staff, running a ‘local’ paper for local people, just like the LFP and SG used to be… Only better.
    As for Dick’s comment – competition is a good thing, if JP hadn’t centralised everything and charged outrageous prices for Property, Recruitment, services and BMD’s this very good free local newspaper wouldn’t have been so successful. They priced themselves out of the market and ran their staff into the ground.

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  • April 21, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    A good product everyone should be proud to have circulating in the area

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