There’s a small change from today in how this website is run. 853 editor DARRYL CHAMBERLAIN explains what it all means, and why it will hopefully give you a better website to read (and maybe even contribute to).

I’m very excited to confirm that 853 and its sister site, The Charlton Champion, are now being run through a community interest company, Flyover Media. This is for some very boring reasons – such as separating the sites’ finances from my personal finances – but also some very exciting ones, such as being able to apply for grants for expansion or new projects.

I am a director of Flyover along with Neil Clasper, my Charlton Champion co-editor, and we’ve both put some money in to get this going. As it’s a community interest company, all profit must be reinvested back into the business or go to another non-profit (if it closes, any money left over will go to Arts Emergency, which helps non-affluent young people get jobs in the media and arts, a cause close to my heart). You can read more on the Flyover Media website.

I’ve been hugely lucky to have well over 100 people donate to this site through a Patreon membership scheme – enabling 853 to become a part-time job, which I combine with other work. This arrangement will continue, although your money will go to Flyover, which will pay me a small wage and keep a bit on top to pay the bills.

Later this year, we’re planning to switch 853 to a new hosting plan which we hope will mean we can attract advertising from local businesses.  We’ll try it out on the Champion first and if that works, it’ll move to 853. Hopefully that will put us on a much more secure footing.

We’re also looking for funding for new projects – finding a way to boost Lewisham reporting on 853 to broaden the site’s reach, and are looking at producing something in print for a specific part of Greenwich borough. Can you help with any of these? We’d love to hear from you.

853 has built up a reputation of robust but fair reporting on issues in this area, linking to sources where possible and covering both sides of the story. I hope that Flyover’s launch means I can develop this work, get more people involved in the site, and continue holding those in power to account.

We’ll also be holding a launch event – probably in Charlton in the first week of June – where we’ll talk about what we’re doing and have a chat about what we all can do to secure the future of an independent local media in our very special part of London. Look out for details here soon.

It’s been a big push to get this far. For years the local media in this area has been withering away. Now, with your help, we can try to do something about it.

We’ll be developing new ways to help support us, but you can continue to help by joining our Patreon membership scheme:

Thanks, as always, for your support – I’m looking forward to what comes ahead.