Bristol 24/7 CIC
Name of Enterprise: Bristol 24/7 CIC
Legal Structure: Community Interest Company
Date of Deal: 20 June 2016
Transaction Size: £150,000
Type of Finance/Investment: Loan from the Resonance Bristol SITR Fund
Expected Return: 7-8%+
Impact: Poverty & Disadvantage
Bristol 24/7 is a popular online newsletter and monthly printed magazine, dedicated to celebrating Bristol, its people and their stories to help build stronger communities and communication between those communities. In addition to “What’s On” in the area it covers social issues and current affairs that affect the people of Bristol.
The publication reaches out and encourages those from marginalized neighborhoods by offering training, work experience and internships in journalism; so they can share stories, events and concerns from their communities to break down cultural differences that mainstream media often portray in a negative way.
The investment from the Fund will help Bristol 24/7 purchase software and facilitate the training to set up local hubs across Bristol, which will enable local people to contribute articles and photos that will be uploaded to the main site, whilst allowing them also to raise their own revenue from advertising. This in turn will create a catalyst of career opportunities in media for those who are currently underserved within the sector.
Though the publication is a well-known, Bristol brand, what is less well-known about the organization is that it was set up as a Community Interest Company with a clear social mission to produce a compelling range of local content on a variety of formats to support and stimulate the City; and have a large part of that content, written and produced by young talent from marginalized neighbourhoods. These young people might otherwise not get the opportunity to gain work experience in journalism without a degree level education.
The founders of the CIC, Dougal Templeton and Mike Bennett, both media professionals, were conscious that Bristol is often referred to as a “divided city” with clear social, economic and cultural differences that mainstream media often portray in a negative way, further serving to exacerbate the challenges and inequalities that certain communities face. Most Bristol publications are aimed at a small number of Bristol wards, ignoring other communities, which have been under-represented and therefore underserved by the media. Bristol 24/7 uncovers positive stories of inspiring people across all the Bristol wards connecting them in a single publication where one community can learn more about what is happening not only in their own neighbourhood but that of others.
Meena Alexander, with no appropriate qualifications or media background, progressed from a work experience opportunity to a part time role with the magazine as editorial assistant. She has now moved to London, is completing a journalism course at News Associates in Wimbledon and is working for The Times on the production desk in the evenings.
If you would like to learn more about Bristol 24/7 please visit their website.