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5,000 online in Newsquest venture

The free CommuniGate community website initiative from Newsquest now has more than 5,000 clubs and groups online.

The facility was launched 18 months ago to boost the newspaper group’s relationships with local communities.

Some 20 per cent of the total – 1,000 sites – have come through Newsquest North East, which publishes the Northern Echo and eight other titles.

CommuniGate offers an interactive forum where clubs, charities, schools and other non-profit organisations are able to build unlimited information pages, communicate with members, list events, publish newsletters, host discussions on bulletin boards, add photographs and even create results tables.

The system requires no previous web-authoring experience or costly software and site-builders can expand or update their sites from home whenever they want.

Full instructions and ongoing help are provided and beginners can even take advantage in the North East of a free one-to-one starter session.

Community web editor Alison Nicholson said: “Ours is a high profile, community-oriented initiative. CommuniGate staff are in the ‘front line’ interacting with the public and we take this responsibility very seriously indeed.”

Newsquest North East managing director David Kelly said: “CommuniGate has helped our publishing operation to strengthen links in the very heart of the communities we serve.

“While we appreciate the endorsement we have received from key figures like Prime Minister Tony Blair, it is the phenomenal feedback on behalf of many, many thousands of individuals in our communities which has been so rewarding.”

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