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Hyperlocal website appeals to readers in bid to secure future

SE1A hyperlocal website covering part of South London is asking its readers to join a membership scheme to help secure its future.

The London SE1 community website is one of the longest-established hyperlocal news websites in the UK having first launched in 1998, but its publishers say it is struggling to balance the books.

Now is inviting readers to pay £5 a month towards its coverage of local news, politics and regeneration, with the option of to contribute the hourly London Living Wage of £9.40.

The site covers part of the boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth in the centre of London – including the South Bank, Waterloo, Bankside, Bermondsey, London Bridge and Elephant & Castle.

Editor James Hatts said:  “We know that our readers value what we do. Without their help, we simply won’t be able to carry on.

“When setting up the scheme we looked at what other publishers in the UK were doing – from the Guardian to the Waltham Forest Echo – and the example of successful local news publishers in the UK such as Berkeleyside and Bungalower.

“We’re realistic about the prospects. A membership scheme won’t solve all our problems. We need a mix of revenue streams including advertising and reader support.”

More than 7,000 people subscribe to the site’s email bulletins while 41,000 follow its Twitter account.  Subscribers to the membership scheme will receive an exclusive members-only printed newsletter by post each month.