Last Thursday evening supporters of Enfield Dispatch gathered at the Enfield Society's headquarters to celebrate the fifth birthday of the borough's free community newspaper. Naturally, the occasion involved cake (from nearby Holtwhite's Bakery, of course), though editor James Cracknell forgot to buy candles.
Standing by as James cuts the cake, the photograph shows one of the guest speakers, Enfield North MP Feryal Clark, along with David Floyd, chief executive of Social Spider CIC, proprietors of the Dispatch and four more north and east London community papers. Another guest speaker was Guardian journalist Aditya Chakrabortty, who was born and raised in Edmonton and now lives in Winchmore Hill.
In its first five years the Dispatch, in combination with the BBC-funded Local Democracy Reporting Service, has utterly transformed news reporting in Enfield in terms of both quantity and quality, and has also provided an outlet for members of the community to see their words in print and write about the many things going on in our borough that we would otherwise not hear of. I'm proud to have supported the Dispatch from the outset and to have contributed an article to the very first issue, about someone who also had a transformative impact, in her case on Forty Hall Farm.
With most local advertising having moved away from the local press to the Internet, the Dispatch's financial situation is not ideal. You can help by becoming a member - you'll be doing your bit to keep the local community better informed and hold people in power to account.