A weekly newspaper has been tasked with deciding how almost £70,000 of government funding should be spent on its patch, in what its editor believes is a regional press first.
Droitwich Standard editor Tristan Harris was asked by Drotiwich Town Council to survey readers on four different options for the cash when he was reporting on a meeting where a decision was due to be made on the issue.
Councillors deferred a decision on how to spend the News Homes Bonus money, awarded since 2010 to authorities which increase the number of homes in the area.
Tristan and reporter Anu Shukla were asked to take the four projects in the running – a play park, two sports pavilions and a community garden – out to consultation and provide a platform for readers to vote for their preferred choice.
Friday’s front page, pictured above, served as a ‘rallying call’ to residents to have their say on where the NHB funding goes and urging them to put the projects in order of preference.
On page four, the Standard outlined the four projects and printed a cut-out coupon for people to drop into the town council office after numbering the projects one to four in order of preference.
Residents are also able to have their say via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and through an online poll on the Standard’s website.
Said Tristan: “It’s excellent news that we have been tasked with canvassing public opinion on this important issue and I hope our readers will come forward and let us know which of the four projects they feel is the most deserving.
“I’m not sure a local newspaper has ever been asked by a council before to help determine where NHB funding goes, so this could even be a first.”