If you could change one thing in your local area, what would it be?
Many people love and take pride in their community but they might still desire a few improvements.
Tidier streets could be on your wish list, or more leisure facilities for young people.
Some areas are blighted by problems such as poverty or high crime rates which provoke strong local feeling.
Whatever the issue, local people have the power to fight for their community and make a difference.
Local people are best-placed to make the decisions that will shape their community’s future because they know the area better than anyone else.
But in order to do so they need regular, up to date information they can trust and rely on.
And that is where local newspapers have such a vital role to play.
Local newspapers bring important issues into sharp focus and spark real, meaningful action.
They give people unbiased, trusted information which they need to make the right decisions for them and their community.
In this way, local papers truly give power back to the people.
Be it taking control of their own housing association, or forming a new club or society, local papers give people the power to unite behind a cause and act.
Countless charities have benefitted from the power of local papers. Through their pages, local papers can help with fundraising and volunteering campaigns.
Through the local paper, people can come together and unite behind a cause, be it a campaign for better medical facilities in their area, or a move to start a new football team.
Acting in this way, local papers truly are the glue that binds communities.
By uniting like-minded people, local papers promote local clubs and societies and provide vital publicity for cultural events.
Similarly, they can promote local businesses, energising the local economy as they do so.
By performing this vital service, local papers not only inform the local community but shape its future for the better.
It is this unique quality, shared by local and regional papers across Britain, that we are celebrating during this year’s Local Newspaper Week (May 9-15) and we hope that you will join us in doing so.
In Belper we have bought you the New Year Honours, which we staged for the first time this year, when you the readers chose the people you thought to be the town’s unsung heroes. People who gave their time and put their efforts into helping others often without reward. These are the sort of people we wanted to give some much deserved recognition to at our New Year Honours ceremony.
We also staged the Life Thru the Lens photographic event when we tasked readers with coming up with the picture they felt best summed up Belper or the surrounding area. Almost 200 pictures were entered and we were bowled over by the quality of all the entries.
As part of Local Newspaper Week this year we are launching a Good News Campaign.
We felt that even though the recession was biting hard in our area like many others, there were still people out there putting a smile on our faces with their kind deeds and actions, or just their propensity for having fun.
That is what our Good News Campaign is all about. We want to highlight all that is great, good and fun about our town and surrounding villages.
It could be dedicated parents raising funds for the local scout group, residents sprucing up their street or locals getting together for a knees-up, which was evident recently when royal wedding celebration events were staged across the town.
This week we have featured a story about the Home-Start charity, which is based in Crich. Belper Town Council has given a welcome boost to the group with a cash injection of £500.
Home-Start, which helps young families in Belper and the Amber Valley area, is run by 40 volunteers.
It provides support, friendship and practical advice for families.
Its volunteers also go into homes to help parents and provide advice. They also give parents someone to talk to.
The group believes that parents should have the support they need to give their child the best possible start in life.
The money will help with running costs.
We want you to get in touch and tell us about your Good News stories. You can call 01773 881100 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s see if you can put a smile on readers’ faces.