Sorry about speaking in third person here, but this little article was to record my “Blantyre Telegraph” as part of Blantyre’s history.
The Blantyre Telegraph – is a contemporary charity based local news website and offline monthly newspaper of the same name. The organisation is non-profit making, and was established online on 31st March 2011 by owner and local businessman, Paul Veverka.
Initially intended as a bit of fun to cascade local daily news, there proved to be a desire on social media to share this news and so in June 2013, it was also dually published on Social media. The website relies heavily upon local businesses, organisations and individuals sending in articles, press releases, photos and events although Paul is known to do his own reporting, when time permits or opportunity presents itself.
By Summer 2015, Paul decided to use the popularity of the website to create something more productive, that could be used to benefit people in need all over Blantyre and on an ongoing, suistainable basis. The idea of turning the website into a charity driven site came about in May 2015 and Blantyre Telegraph was destined to also go offline and be distributed throughout Blantyre within an exsiting, monthly newspaper. Gavin Watson Printers of Glasgow Road kindly offered to print several hundred full colour copies per month for free, which is integral to the paper generating fundraising.
The Blantyre Telegraph became an offline monthly newspaper first sold on Thursday 11th June 2015 priced at £1. Mr. Bill O’Neill of High Blantyre was the first person to buy a copy, adding he was buying it for his mother who used to live on Main Street. The newspaper not only reports on what happened in Blantyre the previous month, but also provides information on forthcoming events, as well as having a dedicated Blantyre history page.
Throughout 2015, outlets all over Blantyre came on board to sell the paper either at their till, or via collection tins. Each monthly newspaper, which is 4 pages of full colour A3 paper, is out on the 15th of the month. Paul changes over the newspaper at each outlet in Blantyre around the 15th of each month and is solely responsible for collecting the money raised and the distribution of it entirely back each month through various local good causes of varying nature. Paul takes no fee for writing, editing, volunteering and distributing the paper, ensuring the entire sales revenue, and that raised by sponsorship, goes back to the people of Blantyre in a deserving manner.
As of March 2016, Blantyre Telegraph has raised over £5,000 for many local good causes and has 18 local businesses advertising in the paper. The good causes range from £10 donations to £900 donations, from gifts to indivuduals in need, victims of crime, organisations in need of financial assistance, or simple donations to people who deserve some brightness in their lives. The paper continues to make many charitable donations to local good causes, including schools, churches, organisations and especially focused on helping children.
The webpage has a readership of 5,462 people from all over the world. The newspaper can also be downloaded online from www.theblantyretelegraph.co.uk . In January 2016, Blantyre Telegraph received official charity status from Paypal.
Paul Veverka, editor and owner, added, “I’m exceptionally proud of Blantyre Telegraph. It’s been one of the accomplishments of my life, despite it still being in its infancy. What started off a hobby, has not only become an excellent accurate record of news in Blantyre, but has seen 42 deserving causes benefit in such a short space of time. It has directly assisted several hundred people. Awareness of the newspaper is growing each month and it’s now a familiar sight now on sale at Royal Bank of Scotland, Jinxy’s Bakery, Blantyre Carrigans, Family Shopper, Community Links, Blantyre Library and Blantyre Miners Welfare Community Resource Centre. I look forward to being able to helping many more Blantyre people, which is all really thanks to the kind and loyal people buying the paper each month.”