A Big Announcement

In November of last year Blog Preston teamed up with several other media projects and charities in Preston to bid for the NESTA Neighbourhood Challenge. We put together a joint bid with Prescap & Preston FM, Bespoke Project at the University of Central Lancashire and CSV Preston to apply for funding. NESTA’s Neighbourhood Challenge is designed to support people who are trying to change their communities for the better, something that we’ve always tried to do with Blog Preston.

After whittling down 600 applicants, our bid was shortlisted for the final forty entrants in December, from which 10 would be selected for the Neighbourhood Challenge.

We are thrilled to announce that our bid was successful and that today we have been chosen as one of NESTA’s Neighbourhood Challenge winners, meaning that over the next year or so we will be supported by significant funding to reach out more into the community, train people to talk about and record the issues that matter to them, and really get our teeth stuck into the neighbourhoods of Preston.

Ed Walker, Blog Preston founder, said: “This is great news not just for Blog Preston but Preston as a whole. It means we’ll be able to expand our coverage of the city and into communities we’ve perhaps found it difficult to cover before.

“We hope to see a greater range of content on the site as a result of this partnership, and it’s great it’s happening as we approach the Preston Guild in 2012 which is a huge event for the city.”

Our bid is about communities. It’s about recognising that communities are made up of people talking to one another. It’s about finding out what a community already has and what it still needs before exploring how to supply it. The people best placed to do this are the communities themselves.

Using technology and software applications designed to make the job of recording (audio and video), writing and publishing information almost second nature, our project aims to establish a space for collaborative community media, bringing together three different territorial communities in Preston – Deepdale, Ribbleton and St. Matthew’s.

Led by Prescap, we aim to provide communities with the toolsets, support and facilities to create their own content and set their own news agendas. Community produced radio and TV, descriptions from blogs, comments, reactions and websites constitute an ideal foundation for neighbourhoods to find out about issues pertinent to them and to find out what local social groups are up to.

Their output may be little more than news and information about their own group activities, but it may evolve into forms of media that translate into campaigning public journalism, connecting people from diverse backgrounds with shared interests to resolve an issue or to collaborate on improving their lot.

A key element of this project is to move beyond giving communities a platform, to connecting collective voices for positive change. We want to create a surge of community journalism, to enable people to question and report what’s going on around them, and use our platform to showcase their work.

Over the next year we’ll be working with NESTA and the aforementioned organisations to make these ideas blossom, and we’ll keep you updated with all the future developments. Suffice it to say that 2011 is going to be a very exciting year for Blog Preston.

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