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Open Letter from Editor: Launch of new platform to help us live life locally

Roman Road LDN’s Editor-in-Chief announces the launch of a neighbourhood portal to help us build better lives as we come out of the pandemic.

Tabitha Stapely portrait shot against Social Street colours

Dear reader,

If the last year has taught us one thing it is that life is more rewarding when we are more connected to our neighbourhood. During the lockdowns of the last year we, as local residents, have developed stronger bonds with our neighbours; discovered shops we didn’t know existed, and explored the nooks and crannies of our public spaces.  These have provided us with unexpected joys during a year of hardship.

While all of us are looking forward to exploring the wider world again, we want to build on the meaningfulness we have found of living a more local life.  But is it possible to return to our busy city lives and still maintain the interaction of local life we’ve come to love?

We know one of the main challenges to making the most out of our neighbourhood is being aware of what’s going on. Things this local don’t get covered in other media titles. 

That’s why we’ve launched Connect. It’s a neighbourhood portal that tells you everything that’s going on on your doorstep from events and volunteering opportunities to shops and services, making it easier to stay local.

Our editorial content will continue as normal but this will be a way for members of our community to have their own area of the Roman Road LDN website where they can promote their organisations, events, projects and news. A truly collective platform for the community.

We’ve worked with members of the community to create a service that meets their needs.

It’s affordable. For Connect to be useful it is important that as many members of the community are on it as possible. That’s also why we’ve kept the listings cost especially low for local businesses, charities and organisations. Grassroots organisations that are run by volunteers can list their group for free, so if you’re a residents association or community group, please get in touch for your free listing. 

We subsidise local organisations. Massively. That’s key for us as a not-for-profit magazine working to celebrate community on a neighbourhood level. We give preferential treatment to local people, businesses and organisations. The standard price for a listing is a reasonable £18 per month but, if you are local, we offer a discount of two thirds on this price, bringing it down to just £6 per month. That’s how we will make sure Connect comprises relevant, local listings.

It’s varied. Connect allows you to list everything! Unlike conventional listing services such as Yell, it’s not just a list of businesses. Once you become a Connect member you can add unlimited events, projects, notices, jobs, volunteering opportunities and special offers at no extra cost. This reflects the tapestry of places to visit, things to do and ways of getting involved that make up a community.

It’s useful. There are no tiered packages that restrict some features. Everyone gets all the bells and whistles, including opening hours, links to social media platforms, star ratings, reviews, and directions to help you find little places much more easily.

It’s hyper-local. We only list what’s going on in our patch of Roman Road. That’s Bow, Globe Town, Mile End and Fish Island. We know that if it’s not 15 minutes walk from home, it’s not realistic to fit into our lives. Although we do list events that are slightly further afield in East London as we all up for travelling a wee way for a night of entertainment. 

Why did we call it Connect? Because, as a not-for-profit social enterprise, helping people get connected is at the heart of what Roman Road LDN magazine does. Our editorial content helps people put names to faces online. Now Connect will help people connect with each other in real life.

We want Connect to be a collective effort to create a sustainable community platform that helps us all, both the businesses and organisations doing incredible things in our neighbourhood and the local residents who want to get the most out of where they live.

The quicker and bigger it grows, the more we can invest in it and make it even more useful for you. So if you think this will be something that will make your life more rewarding, please support it.

When you visit any of our shops or organisations, mention that you saw their lovely profile on Roman Road LDN Connect. And leave a five-star review on the businesses you love most. If you know someone who runs a local business, organisation, service or community group, please forward this article to them.  

We hope that Connect becomes a collective platform that benefits each and every one of us. If you would like to suggest ways this can be even more useful for you, please get in touch with us.

Kind regards

Tabitha Stapely

Please support local journalism.

As a not-for-profit media organisation using constructive journalism to strengthen communities, we have not put our digital content behind a paywall or subscription fee as we think the benefits of an independent, local publication should be available to everyone living in our area.

We are powered by members. Hundreds of members have already joined. Become a member to donate as little as £3 per month to support constructive journalism and the local community.

Tabitha Stapely

Tabitha Stapely is the founder of Social Streets C.I.C, a not-for-profit media company using journalism to strengthen communities, particularly those in disadvantaged or neglected areas. Prior, Stapely was a writer and editor for national titles including The Telegraph Saturday Magazine, Elle and Red magazines.

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