Bradley Stoke Matters community magazine will be celebrating its 15th Anniversary in 2020. Quite a milestone for an idea devised just after its editor, Jaci, had stopped full time work to concentrate on her first child. Jaci moved to Bradley Stoke in 1994 when there was still plenty of fields along Bradley Stoke Way but 11 years on, having worked primarily in the city, found she still barely knew any of her neighbours bar the ones in the immediate vicinity.
Being at home with a young child, Jaci realised how little she knew about the town and what went on. She also discovered that there wasn’t an easy way to find out this information either, and what information was available at the library or town council offices at the time was inconclusive and out of date! Hence the idea for the magazine was born.
The premise for the magazine was that it would be POSITIVE and include all the fantastic and good things happening in the local community news as well as a resource to discover forthcoming events and ways to get involved in the various activities and clubs taking place across the area, ie not a newspaper focussing on the negative but rather something to pick up and find out what’s going on in the community – coffee mornings, car boot sales, toddler groups, the WI, football teams, workshops, church events, school fayres, new businesses opening, as well as being an essential tool to promote your business in the area or to locate local people providing services in the area.
Right from the offset feedback was incredibly positive and constructive and the magazine quickly grew to capacity. In May of 2006, following numerous requests, Bradley Stoke Matters extended it’s coverage to include all 8,600+ homes in Bradley Stoke. With a publication run of 9500 copies, additional copies are available in community venues across the town enabling residents and visitors to pick up a copy. The magazine is in A5 format on high quality, gloss paper. Initially printed in black and white in the early days, it has since developed into the full-colour publication that it is today.
The Concept Grows!
The first edition of Little Stoke Gifford Matters was published in September 2006 and came about due to the numerous requests from residents living just a stone’s throw from our doors and using all the Bradley Stoke amenities, yet who didn’t receive their own copy of the magazine. Little Stoke Gifford Matters therefore covers all the homes in Little Stoke and Stoke Gifford as well as the areas known as Stoke Lodge and touching on Patchway – using the A38 as the cut-off border.
The combined ‘Bradley Stoke & Little Stoke Gifford Matters Magazine’ now produces 16,000 copies per quarter, with each household receiving four copies of the magazine during the course of the year , with eight separate editions being published through the year, alternating between Bradley Stoke and Little Stoke/Stoke Gifford.
And Grows ….
Wanting to encourage others to set up their own community magazine, the first Matters ‘franchise’ magazine was launched in August 2006 by one of Jaci’s oldest friends. The first edition of “Corsham & Box Matters” was issued in August 2006 and immediately attracted the attention of the local press*. Corsham & Box Matters quickly become a popular and sought after community publication in Wiltshire. Further franchises followed with the launch of Bishopston Matters in 2007, Emersons Green, Downend & Mangotsfield Matters, Winterbourne & Frampton Matters, Filton Matters, Chepstow Matters.
*News Article printed 1 September 2006, The Bath Chronicle