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New eco-Echo for Midlands

The team responsible for Britain’s first free newspaper 30 years ago has launched its latest – the Worcestershire Echo.

But the new publication is no ordinary free paper – it’s the result of a partnership between the Observer Standard Group in the West Midlands, and six local councils.

And “Echo” stands for “energy, conservation, health and opportunity” – bringing a green message to more than 230,000 homes in the area.

The council is making use of the Observer Standard’s production expertise, and the fact that it reaches so many households.

The Observer Standard Group, under Pat and Chris Bullivant, covers the Warwickshire and Worcestershire conurbations south of Birmingham, Coventry and also north Hertfordshire.

Their latest collaborative project is delivered with the normal weekly papers.

Managing director Pat said: “This is an energy conservation publication which will have four editions a year.

“It’s such a good idea because it’s good for the country and good for individuals.

“The councils’ own press offices provided the editorial, which was laid out and designed by our sub-editors then distributed for the most part with our papers, backed up by bulk drops around the area.”

Husband and wife team Chris and Pat Bullivant launched the country’s first free newspaper, The Banbury Focus in 1970.

In 1984 they also launched the country’s first free daily title, The Daily News, in Birmingham. Fifty-four newspaper launches later, they are still using their experience and expertise to bring home the news.

The company’s titles comprise the Redditch Standard, Alcester Standard, Bromsgrove Standard, Droitwich Standard and the Stratford Standard, Leamington Observer, Warwick Observer, Kenilworth Observer, Southam Observer and Rugby Observer,Hitchen Advertiser, Biggleswade Advertiser and the Stevenage Advertiser also covering Letchworth, Baldock, Sandy, Potton and Gamingay.

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