We received a grant from Blackhill Windfarm Community Fund in 2017 towards the costs of establishing a website that community groups, charities, social enterprises and other voluntary sector organisations can use to promote what they are doing, advertise events and jobs, request volunteers and share information - all free of charge.
Working with a local website developer, based in Duns, we began creating the site shortly after our grant was received. The website – www.linknews.org.uk – went “live” in August 2017.
Since then, it has been updated on a regular basis, offering news and features on the activities of third sector organisations across the Borders. The stories that we feature on the website are promoted through our social media channels, particularly the Link News Facebook page, which was created to coincide with the launch of the new website. It also allows organisations to highlight job opportunities free and to publicise their events.
The Blackhill grant allowed us to pay for a website developer to work with us to create the site, and also to provide free training for representatives of local organisations in Berwickshire in Wordpress (the content management system), allowing them to upload their own content to the site if required.
We are very grateful to Blackhill for the grant, without which we would have struggled to find the costs to develop the site.
Our contribution has been to continue to update the site as part of Face PR’s community benefits.
Feedback on the website has been very good, from both the public and those organisations we seek to promote.
We realise that online magazines are not for everyone, so in the coming months we will look at potential ways of providing information in a hard copy format if possible, given increasing print costs.
There is still much to be done to promote the site as a free vehicle for charities, community groups and social enterprises to publicise the vital work that they do. Much of our staff time is spent updating the site, leaving little time to go out and market it to those organisations that could be using it.
The website includes advertising space, but we have done little to promote this and hope to do more in 2017. The idea behind this space is that advertisers can featured in a prominent area, for more time than a news post would usually appear on the site. We have managed to obtain some advertising income and again this is something we wish to try to increase in 2019. It would allow us to pay for ongoing maintenance and domain costs.