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Local democracy reporter announces switch to local council role

Another of the original cohort of journalists who helped launch the local democracy reporter scheme five years ago has announced she has left the role.

Molly Williams, who covered the Sheffield region and was based at the Sheffield Star, is the second founder member of the LDRS team to quit this week, following the departure of Charlotte Green in Manchester.

Having joined the BBC-funded Local Democracy Reporting Service in 2018, Molly said she was proud of the role she has played in ‘holding authorities to account’.

She will now be taking on a new role with Sheffield City Council as a social content coordinator.

Molly Williams has left her role as LDRS reporter in Sheffield and joined the city's council.

Molly Williams has left her role as LDRS reporter in Sheffield and joined the city’s council.

Said Molly: “I was one of the first local democracy reporters, joining the scheme shortly after it was launched in 2018.  I’ve always been passionate about public interest journalism so this was a dream first full time job for me when I was starting out.

“I’m very grateful to have been a part of such an invaluable service that has made a real difference to local politics in the UK.

“I’m proud of the work I’ve done holding authorities to account, helping to improve transparency and shining a light on decision making. I know my colleagues will continue to do an excellent job of this.

“Although I’ll miss being an LDR, I am very excited for a new creative challenge and the opportunity to advance my digital skills.”

Molly announced her move on the social media platform ‘X’ earlier this week. Under the header ‘Personal news’ she wrote: “Today is my last as a local democracy reporter I’m off on a new adventure.

“Thank you to everyone who tipped me off, shared photos and chatted on or off record over the past 5+ years. It was a privilege to write about this great city and its wonderful people.

“I started this job before I graduated @sheffhallamuni and I was so proud to be one of the first LDRs in the country.

“It’s a brilliant scheme dedicated to public interest journalism and I’ll miss my wonderful colleagues. I’m not going too far! I’m joining @SheffCouncil as social content coordinator, so I’ll see you around.”

Molly followed up her messages with a shout out to her LDRS replacement Roland Sebestyen who spent a short time on the LDRS scheme earlier this year and now returns full-time.