An invitation has been issued to Westmeath’s non-profit and voluntary community groups to share their news with the local community – free of charge!
Kevin McDermott, founder of Ireland’s first community-based, local news website, www.mylocalnews.ie believes that, especially in these challenging times, communities need to pull together to shape their own future and that communication is central to this.
Kevin used to work with TG4, the Sunday Tribune, and irishjobs.ie before setting up the website on a pilot basis last spring and expanding it since last autumn. Some 1,300 groups currently use the site which has a dedicated page on each of the key towns and villages across Ireland.
Mr McDermott comments, “The very positive reaction to the website indicates a strong local need for this online service. This is the first time that local community groups have such a forum. They control the message and it provides them with a great opportunity to proactively promote themselves in their own community and the wider community. It also helps people away from home to keep in touch.
“Many of these community groups have their own websites but this provides them with a unique opportunity to share a space with other active groups in their area, thereby making it a valuable one stop community forum.”
The website is a one-stop shop for up to date news on community activities:
• Sports club PROs post fixtures for the weekend and match reports.
• Schools post parent-teacher meetings, enrolment days, etc.
• Church leaders post newsletters and other important church events.
• Public representatives post information on key local issues.
• Community activists report on matters of wide community interest.
• Arts, social and youth club officials post news updates.
In a novel approach to online publishing, www.MyLocalNews.ie is tapping into one of the hottest trends on the internet – user generated content (UGC ). www.MyLocalNews.ie is highly interactive, encouraging locals to communicate directly online with all the community groups in their area.
Using a unique e-mail and password, a group can update their news on the site in 30 seconds. This appears as a headline on their town page, county page and for a period, the home page.
“The general public also enjoys free access to the service, which is simple to use.
You just logon and choose your county and town from the drop down menu,” adds Kevin.
Already, over 150,000 visits are made to the site each month and this popularity has grown purely through word of mouth! Groups currently using the site include: GAA, soccer clubs, etc; Special Olympics;Tidy Towns; Foroige youth clubs; active retirement; bridge clubs; church leaders; Community Games; local libraries; community partnerships and many more.