A weekly newspaper has launched a new campaign help a town move on from a child sexual exploitation scandal which has tainted the area.
The Rotherham Advertiser launched its #LoveRotherham campaign with a 20-page supplement, pictured below, in Friday’s paper to highlight good news about the patch.
It follows the child abuse scandal in Rotherham which hit the headlines last year after being exposed by Times journalist Andrew Norfolk.
Now the Advertiser has launched its campaign to highlight the positive work being done in the town, to try to help it put the grooming story behind it.
An independent inquiry found that widespread organised child sexual exploitation took place in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013 and estimated that at least 1,400 children had been abused.
Last year, Advertiser editor Andrew Mosley denied having felt a sense of “shame” over not having broken the story, saying that the Times’ scoop had “opened doors” to his paper in its subsequent attempts to hold the authorities to account.
Said Andrew: “This paper has highlighted some unsavoury goings-on in this town and people are quick to point out that there is a lot of negative news. Yes there is, but we would not be doing our job if we did not report it.
“Equally, the same applies if we do not feature all the good that goes on across the borough — and there is plenty of it.
“Unfortunately, the name Rotherham has become synonymous across the country — if not the world — with the awful child sexual exploitation scandal and there will undoubtedly be more revelations to come.
“Eventually though, a place has to attempt to move on. Obviously, it should never forget what has happened and must strive to support victims, learn from mistakes, raise awareness, put more preventative measures in place and make sure the perpetrators are caught and brought to justice. But it should, at the same time, also work to improve itself in other areas and show off what it does well.”
The paper’s supplement includes columnists from the worlds of business, education, sport and politics including Rotherham United chairman Tony Stewart and Rotherham MP Sarah Champion, alongside articles about town centre trade, regeneration work on the High Street and community work by volunteers and charities.
The supplement has brought in more than £12,000 in advertising and also includes a council-sponsored competition in which readers can vote for their favourite town centre traders.
The Advertiser will run its campaign over the next few months and is asking readers to tell the title what they love about Rotherham.