This is the first of what I hope will be a regular feature – answers to ten questions put to the publishers of some of the most vibrant and inspirational hyperlocal websites that are out there. Annette Albert, who manages W14london.ning.com – ‘the community website for the W14 & SW6 neighbourhood’, has kindly agreed to be the first to take part.
Annette was keen to start a community website for her area after seeing William talk about his Kings Cross Environments experiences at Reboot Britain 2009. She convinced North Fulham NDC to secure a talk about local training session and the rest, as they say, is history.
Through Annette’s hard work, which hasn’t gone unnoticed by the BBC, the site has gone from strength to strength since it started in July 2009 and now has 469 members – a number of whom joined during a highly unusual training session in a field as part of community funday Fulham Fest in September 2009.
What made you start W14london.ning.com?
W14london was started to give people in our area a voice. West Kensington is an area which does not get investment – no votes for the Council and therefore no investment. I know residents love the area but investment goes to Fulham Broadway and Hammersmith.
What do you feel the key local issues are for your community and how have you used your website to address these?
The key local issues are housing – i.e. redevelopment of the West Kensington Estate. Local Council Cuts – can we the residents take them over and planning issues.
What has been your favourite post or feature on your website and why?
My favourite blog has been a review of a play at our local fringe theatre. It was so well written and so funny. I am sure it would have encouraged people to go to the theatre.
What do you feel has been the most challenging story on your website?
Redevelopment of West Kensington Estates
What obstacles have you faced with your website, and how have you overcome these?
I am not a journalist and in fact have no formal education so blogging (for the world to see) has been particularly difficult.
What do you think it is that attracts readers to your website?
A love of the area and the website provides local, local news.
What’s the most absurd thing that has happened on your site?
Broadcasting Messages with no content. Hmm
What changes would you like to make to your website over the next few months?
I would love more people blogging.
Where do you see your website in a year’s time?
Loads more members and a very busy site.
What one thing would make managing your website even more rewarding than it already is?