A free news website and monthly magazine set up to strengthen communities in Bristol and provide journalism opportunities to disadvantaged young people has received £150,000 from a social investment fund.
Bristol24/7 was awarded the payout by the Resonance Bristol Social Investment Tax Relief Fund that looks to champion companies with social missions in the city.
The news brand covers current affairs, lifestyle, what’s on, business and sports news through a free monthly print edition with a circulation of 20,000, a website that attracts an average of 200,000 unique monthly users and a daily email newsle.
It was set up in 2009 as a Community Interest Company by media professionals Dougal Templeton and Mike Bennett who said they founded it in response to the wider media’s negative portrayal of Bristol as a “divided city” with social, economic and cultural differences.
“This gives us the investment we need to take the social impact of our enterprise to the next level.”
Currently it employs the equivalent of three full-time journalists and a “large team” of freelances.
Donna Thomas, investment manager for Resonance, said: “Being a resident of Bristol, I knew of Bristol24/7 but was delighted to discover that this very successful magazine also had a clear social mission behind it.
“Talking to the Bristol24/7 team, it became clear that the investment they needed would make a big difference in the lives of young people who might like to work in journalism but would be unlikely to be considered in normal circumstances without a degree-level education or previous work experience.”
The investment from the Fund will help Bristol24/7 set up local hubs in the various areas of the city allowing local people to contribute articles and photos that will be uploaded to the main site, while also giving them the ability to raise their own revenue from advertising.
Social investment tax relief is a scheme set up by the government that offers 30 per cent off a private individual’s income tax bill for the year if they invest in an organisation with a “defined and regulated social purpose”. It was created to support social enterprises, including charities, by helping them access new sources of finance.
The Resonance Bristol fund has raised £1.8m of investment to date and will remain open for eligible investors throughout 2016 with the aim of raising a total of £5m this year. It said it will then grow further in response to both the need for investment from social enterprises in Bristol and investor demand.