This is the biggest challenge the Ely 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 Ely Standard. Editor John Elwor

We are asking for your support to build a sustainable future for the Ely 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 Ely and East Cambridgeshire 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 Ely 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 Ely business awards and the Ely Heroes Award – both vital in their respective way in highlighting the community spirit and enterprise of our community.

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. 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.

But our role has also been to reflect, to disseminate and hold to account those in public office. We do it responsibly and we believe well. We have reported in detail on the benefits of the Ely bypass construction for example but not been afraid to challenge the overspend.

We have tested community backing for controversial housing schemes, delved into the debate over expansion of Soham, the future of out of town retailing and pledged our support for retaining our centres to encourage shoppers and to welcome visitors.

Ely and East Cambridgeshire is 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 Ely and East Cambridgeshire does not become a news desert.

Thank you

John Elworthy