London SE1 community website

Membership Scheme

Why are you doing this?

Because we think local news and information matters, and lots of people have told us they want the SE1 website to keep going. Now's your chance to help that happen.

Where does the SE1 website get its money from at present?

Before we launched the membership scheme in autumn 2016, the biggest single income stream was advertising, mostly powered by the Google AdSense service.

We also earn money through restaurant bookings and hotel bookings.

For a while, the website's income more or less matched the costs.

But costs have gone up and revenue has gone down, so we're barely earning enough to cover web hosting and office expenses, let alone the cost of producing our content.

Who are the people behind the SE1 website?

The SE1 website is published by Bankside Press Ltd. Its shareholders and directors are James Hatts, Leigh Hatts and Marion Marples.

As a family, we've been running the website for the past 21 years.

Why should I trust you?

We hope our two-decade track record of local publishing speaks for itself. This isn't an unproven start-up - we've been delivering our core product of high quality local news for nearly two decades.

What will you do with the money?

We need your help if the website is to keep going. We want to keep on breaking stories about the Garden Bridge, about planning and regeneration and what Lambeth and Southwark councils are up to. We also want to provide more audio and video coverage of local events.

If I take out a subscription, can I influence what goes on the website?

Members don't get any special privileges when it comes to our news reporting or forum moderation decisions.

Are you putting a paywall around your content?

No. All our articles will remain free to read.

How did you choose the subscription price levels?

We took a number of factors into consideration.

We looked at the price of local newspapers. If you bought every issue of the South London Press and the Southwark News, it would cost you £5.60 a month. Our basic subscription level is £5.

We looked at the price of a cup of coffee. A flat white costs £3 in Tate Modern. On that basis, our monthly subscription is cheaper than two cups of coffee.

We looked at the prices set by other publishers for similar schemes. The Waltham Forest Echo charges £5 a month for its membership scheme. The Guardian's 'supporter' tier of membership is also a fiver a month.

Can I cancel my subscription?

Yes. You can cancel your subscription at any time by logging in to Paypal and no further payments will be taken.

Under the Consumer Contracts Regulations, you have the right to cancel in the first 14 days and receive a refund. Just get in touch if you need to take up that option.

What happens if this membership scheme gets a poor response?

Our existing members have enabled us to survive since 2016. However, the business remains loss-making and we will need to review the situation during 2018.

What will happen if the website closes down?
We'll cancel everyone's subscription at our end, and no further money will be collected.
Why have you chosen to launch a membership scheme and not a crowdfunding appeal?

A crowdfunding appeal works best when there's a new project to be launched. We're not launching anything new and shiny just at the moment - what we need is steady long-term help to meet ongoing costs.

I run a local business - can I advertise on the site?

Yes. Watch this space for new advertising opportunities on the website and in our range of email newsletters.

We're aware that is not as easy as it ought to be to place an advert on our website. We're working on it.

I've got a great idea for making the SE1 website more financially sustainable. Are you interested in hearing about it?

Please get in touch - we'd be delighted to hear from you.

I can't afford a subscription. Are there other ways I can help the SE1 website?

Definitely. Why not request some of our promotional postcards to distribute to your colleagues or neighbours?

I've got a question that's not answered here

Please send us an email or give us a call and we'll do our best to assist.

Join now

We offer two payment options: Direct Debit with GoCardless or credit/debit card with Paypal.

Use a credit/debit card with PayPal

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