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Community newswire back in business

An online news service axed earlier this year due to government cutbacks has been relaunched today.

The Community Newswire was set up by the Press Association and the Media Trust to help people and community groups get their stories into the national and regional press.

As first revealed on HTFP, it closed on 31 March after losing its funding from the Cabinet Office.

BUt the service is now back up and running following a £1.89m Big Lottery Fund grant to a series of Media Trust projects.

The free-to-use service helps charities, communities and citizen journalists get their stories into the national and regional media.

Stories, press releases and photos are submitted online and the best are selected and written up by dedicated PA journalists and distributed to thousands of newsrooms across the UK.

Media Trust chief executive Caroline Diehl said:  “Now, more than ever, charities and communities must engage with mainstream media, have the skills and resources to cut through the digital noise, to give voice to marginalised and disadvantaged people, and bear witness to both the needs and the solutions in Britain’s hidden communities.

“Community Newswire is a unique and vital service. The Big Lottery Fund’s grant reflects their understanding of the communication needs of small charities and their key role in keeping our communities strong and healthy. We are delighted that as a part of that vision we are able to bring Community Newswire back.”

Between April 2010 and its closure in March, almost 10,000 stories went out through Community Newswire.

The lottery grant will also support the continuance of the Media Trust’s online and television platform, Community Channel, which broadcasts content put together by local community groups.