Downs Mail ceases publication after 25 years

A area newspaper which tried to elevate £30,000 from a crowdfunding bid in January is to close with the decline of eight positions soon after the attractiveness generated just £678.

The Downs Mail warned it may well have to start charging readers except it obtained a £30,000 dollars injection pursuing the “severe impact” of the coronavirus pandemic.

But its charm for cash shut on 14th January acquiring elevated just £678 in the room of 48 days, with 23 supporters getting made donations.

Now the 25-12 months-outdated free title, which circulates fortnightly in the Maidstone and Malling location of North Kent, has been printed for the remaining time following liquidators were called in.


The first edition of the then Bearsted Mail in April 1997

The initial edition of the then Bearsted Mail in April 1997


The Mail, which has just celebrated its 25th birthday, was introduced as the Bearsted Mail in 1997 by previous Kent Messenger news editor Dennis Fowle and his daughter Claire Procter, who had a qualifications in advertising product sales.

Renamed the Downs Mail in 1999, it had a month-to-month distrbution of 88,000 copies throughout 5 nearby editions at its peak, together with a quarterly leisure and tourism magazine, Mid Kent Residing.

Claire, who took over the business from her father when he retired in 2009, places the closure of the title firmly down the pandemic, declaring that up until March 2020 it was accomplishing properly.

On the other hand advertising revenues nose-dived by 80pc in the initially number of days of lockdown in advance of hitting zero for the pursuing three months.

A restructuring approach was applied, with staffing and business area pared down, fewer editions released and a govt Bounceback personal loan taken out.

But just as business commenced to get well in August 2021, sales when all over again took a plummet as advertisers pulled commit amid discuss of far more winter season limits.

By February of this year, print costs experienced risen four moments in 12 months, while electricity expenditures had skyrocketed.

At the time of the appeal, the firm put the once-a-year expenses of printing and distributing the newspaper at £55,000 and a further more £14,400 a yr to keep the website.

Claimed Claire: “The tiny group at the Downs Mail that has made this all materialize have all worked so difficult, significantly about the last two a long time with so several variations and difficulties. Building them redundant immediately after all their initiatives has been the saddest determination of all.

“We just have not been able to recover and immediately after 25 years, it is so sad for us and for the community we have been this kind of a significant component of.

“We have found many other publications are unsuccessful and in no way believed we would also but the blend of the absence of advertising profits, growing expenditures and competition from cost-free advertising on the internet platforms usually means we also have not survived.

“We tried using all we could to flip items about but it just wasn’t enough.”

In the course of the class of its 25-12 months existence the Mail has been associated in many community campaigns, including combating to continue to keep the Hazlitt Theatre open when Maidstone Borough Council desired to close it.

The title also spearheaded a £100,000 fundraising effort and hard work to make Kent County Council establish a pedestrian bridge throughout the A249 in Detling following the loss of life of eight-year-old Jade Hobbs and her grandmother at Christmas 2020 as they experimented with to cross the street to obtain sweets.

Dennis, now 87, begun his occupation in journalism in 1952 when he was 17, as a trainee performing on the Kent Messenger centered at the Sittingbourne workplace.

At 26 he turned news editor of the Messenger, primarily based at the Maidstone office environment, prior to leaving to set up a journal and e-book publishing procedure and then a typesetting and publication business in London.


The final edition of the Downs Mail, published this month

The final version of the Downs Mail, published this thirty day period

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