This is the biggest challenge the Wisbech Standard has ever faced. I’m asking for your help to overcome it.

We are asking for your support to build a sustainable future for the Wisbech Standard. Editor John E

We are asking for your support to build a sustainable future for the Wisbech Standard. Editor John Elworthy is pictured. - Credit: Archant

Dear reader. Have you heard the phrase “news desert”? It’s been coined in America to describe what is left behind when a newspaper closes and the community it served is suddenly left without a source of credible and comprehensive news and information.

You can guess what happens next in those places when the vital scrutiny that a campaigning, investigative local newspaper provides is gone; when no-one is there to shine a light on that which is hidden from the public.

I’m determined that Wisbech and the villages in our part of Cambridgeshire (and some of course in West Norfolk) will never become a news desert - and I need your help to stop it happening.

That’s why I’m asking you to give your financial support to our work. You can contribute any amount you like, as a one-off or a recurring contribution.

Why am I asking this now?

More of you are reading the Wisbech Standard than ever before, and increasingly that is on your mobile phones, tablets and laptops rather than in print.

We’re delighted to serve so many of you - but please understand that trusted journalism costs money to produce, and the money we make from digital page views is a fraction of that from paper sales.

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Our advertising revenues have also been hit by the tech giants, many of whom pay little or no tax here.

Still, we are determined to continue to keep fighting for you and our area.

In recent years, for instance, we have played a major role in developing and promoting the Fenland business awards and we remain fully supportive of the initiative.

Business success is vital to all of us and few of us at this stage understand fully the challenges ahead.

Reflecting on current and future times is what we do and that can range from extensive coverage of local events through to holding public bodies to account.

That latter role has never been more important as local and regional government decisions play an increasing role in how we live, work and travel.

Our campaigning role is vitally important too and in recent times has included work to re-open a cold case child murder, to expose the weaknesses in accounting and management at a community transport provider and to discover the truth behind the departure of Cambridgeshire’s police and crime commissioner.

Every week we round-up the extraordinary fund-raising efforts of our readers, reflecting their efforts both online and in print. They all, collectively and especially during the coronavirus pandemic, merit our encouragement, support and time and effort reporting on their endeavours.

And many have been at the forefront of the campaign to support the NHS and care sector during these difficult days.

Only this week we provided extensive coverage of the HGV convoy from the Fens to Peterborough and through our social media channels more than 30,000 watched as we streamed it live.

Highlighting those efforts helps to encourage more volunteer support, more community backing which in turn brings added safety and protection for those on the front line looking after us all.

Our Fen towns and villages are a vibrant place to live, to work and to socialise. A strong local newspaper helps to encourage and achieve that.

So please help us with a contribution to supporting award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Every single gesture of support will help us make sure Wisbech does not become a news desert.

Thank you

John Elworthy