CLERGY TEAM

   

Rector  


The Revd.

Matthew J Hughes

01689 856931

 jmath@btinternet.com

Associate Rector   


The Revd.
Stephen Broadie
 07722 428553
revstephenbroadie@
gmail.com

Assistant Priest  


The Revd.

Bill Mullenger

020 8462 9624
wsmullenger@
idnetfreemail.co.uk

 

October Leader:  Future of the Parish Magazine

Background

Up until the start of the lockdown St Giles was fortunate to have an award winning parish magazine that we were able to deliver to over 500 people (although the actual number of paying subscribers was around 350) via a team of dedicated deliverers. Additional copies were also posted out to people in other parts of the country and each month a number were purchased from the back of the church and local shops.

During this crisis it would have been very easy and understandable for the magazine production and distribution to have ceased. However, through the innovations and hard work of Adèle, Eddie and Helen we were able, not only to produce a monthly magazine, but also to send it out electronically and by post. I know from a number of comments how much this has been appreciated by many of our subscribers. I am hugely grateful for Adèle’s, Eddie and Helen’s hard work in all that has been achieved.

Challenges and Opportunities going forward

To run a successful magazine a number of elements need to come together:

1     Production team, editors, proof-readers, photographers.
2     Contributors and good quality articles and photos.
3     Administration of its subscribers, finances, and advertisers.
4     Timely and reliable distribution.
5     Financial viability.
6     Strong advertising income.

I am pleased to say that the first three are adequately covered. Moving forward we are facing challenges in 4,5,6.

Distribution (4)

Part of the lockdown restrictions was the prohibiting of door to door deliveries. Even with a lifting of the restrictions we believe that the distribution of the magazine should not be reliant on a mainly elderly group of distributors who may not want to resume their rounds when the danger of infection remains high. This seems sensible given the danger of infection from the touching of multiple letter boxes and door handles, not to mention the increased exposure to multiple households. Going forward the magazine will have to be professionally delivered. A price has been quoted for this at £144 per month for 300 magazines.

Advertising and Financial viability (5,6)

For many years, the magazine has benefitted from a strong group of regular advertisers who have valued the opportunity to advertise their business and services with us. In today’s world many businesses are increasingly wanting to advertise online and on Social Media sites. In addition, because the Coronavirus pandemic shut down a number of local businesses, advertising has not been necessary, or a priority by many. This has meant that the income derived from advertising has declined from approximately £7000 in 2019, to £3500 in 2020. Of course, we remain very grateful to all our advertisers who have continued to value and support the magazine as a focus for the social and business life of our community. It may be that advertising revenue will eventually recover when the country emerges from the Covid crisis, or it may not.

New cost for the Parish Magazine

Going forward subscriptions will have to increase:from the current cost which is £1.25 per issue – or £12 for an annual subscription.

*     We need to make up for the loss of advertising revenue.  

▪    The magazine will have to be professionally distributed to those who would like a hard copy by a delivery company within the BR6 post code.  The new cost for the printed magazine will be £30 per year.

▪    Those outside the BR6 post code who wish to have a hard copy can have it delivered via the Royal Mail at £30 per year.

▪    As an alternative the magazine can be read as an email attachment for £10 per year.

Production 

▪     The magazine will continue to be produced as an A4 booklet in gloss cover format.

▪     The magazine can be purchased at the back of the church and other outlets when  restrictions allow at £2.60 per copy.

Subscriptions

▪    The date for the collection of subscriptions will be moved from March/ April to October/ November, this change will greatly aid our accounting. Subscriptions will be collected from October/ November for the following year. People can apply for a refund on over paid subs if they wish for the January, February, March, and April issues,  or donate the over paid subs to the magazine. Those who wish for a refund can do so by writing to the Rector via the parish office.

▪    Magazine Advertisers will be offered a 4--month pro-rata reduction on the following years advertising rates.

▪    Subscriptions can only be paid via a cheque, or bank transfer. No cash. 

▪    Magazines will only be delivered, posted, or emailed where subs have been paid in advance by the end of November.


Magazine Team

▪    Eddie and Helen Roberts will continue to be Editors of the parish magazine

▪    Adèèle Cooke will continue to produce the current emailed magazine and the posted  paper copy.

▪    All data will be held and treated in accordance with the Data Protection Act of 2018.

▪    The PCC will need to be mindful of the financial implications of continuing to produce the pre lockdown magazine.

Conclusion

These proposals have yet to receive a formal vote by the PCC, but they do accurately  describe the problems facing the magazine and the necessary changes that will need to be implemented if it is to remain financially viable as of the PCC meeting on 21st September 2020. The issues and challenges were also identified and discussed at magazine committee meeting on 17th August 2020.
 
I continue to believe that our Parish Magazine is a great credit to those who produce it and to the life of our church and will be well worth the £30 per year subscription to have it hand delivered to your door. I appreciate the future of the magazine is dependent on the support of its readership and advertisers, so thank you to all our readers for your ongoing support. I appreciate that these proposals contain a number of changes, but they are in response to the unprecedented challenges that we are facing in maintaining and financing the Parish Magazine.

Matthew Hughes