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Weeklies win share of £60k coronavirus emergency fund

Colin Maughan Emily AthertonIndependent weeklies and hyperlocal news services are set to benefit from a £60,000 fund aimed at helping publishers through the coronavirus crisis.

The Public Interest News Foundation has revealed the first 20 beneficiaries of its COVID-19 emergency fund, which was launched last month.

Newspapers to benefit include the Cumberland and Westmorland Herald and Wokingham Paper, along with titles such as the Isle of Thanet News, Llanelli Online and Shetland News.

A total of 89 applications were made for the cash, and each successful recipient will get a £3,000 grant from the fund.

Herald editor Emily Atherton, pictured, said: “We are incredibly grateful to PINF for their support. The grant — which has come at a time when advertising revenue in particular has taken a hard hit — could not be more welcome.

“It’s a ray of sunshine in what has been an incredibly difficult time for us as a rurally-based independent newspaper.

“Nine thousand-plus weekly readers across the scattered communities of East Cumbria rely on the Cumberland and Westmorland Herald to keep them informed and connected.

“This has been more important than ever during the COVID-19 lockdown when a sense of shared experience has been key to combating isolation, especially among older readers.”

Jonathan Heawood, executive director of PINF, said: “This is a great start, but there’s so much more to do to support independent public interest journalism in the UK.

“Everyone has a role to play – big tech, government, philanthropists and the established news media. We all need to pull together if we want to see a positive future for journalism.”

The full list of successful recipients is as follows:

5 Pillars, which covers British Muslim news
Bankside Press, South-East London
Cumberland & Westmorland Herald
Emito, which serves the UK’s Polish community
The Ferret, Scotland
Gal-dem, which covers women and non-binary people of colour
Hyperlocal Today
Isle of Thanet News
Leicester Updates
Llanelli Online
Lochside Press, Clyde
Network Norwich & Norfolk
Now Then Magazine, Manchester and Sheffield
On The Wight, Isle of Wight
Planet Magazine, Wales
Shetland News
Star & Crescent, Portsmouth
Unedited Stories, which explores complex ethical issues
View Digital, Northern Ireland
Wokingham Paper

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