Now seems a good time to start documenting the exciting things happening at Forres Local, because things are happening and to a degree, the lockdown has given the plans some focus. I’ll write here as things develop, and they are developing.
For a while I have wanted a place to record what we’re doing behind the scenes and give the public of Forres a chance to see inside our operation and get involved if they want.
The backstory in a nutshell is that I was offered the chance in August 2018 to take over what was then called Forres Web. For nearly 20 years, it was an online portal for the town, and it carried information about local businesses and organisations. I took it on with the premise that I would continue to run it for the benefit of the town and its people and I changed the name to Forres Local to reflect a focus on local news, local events and local people.
For those that don’t know, my name is Marc Hindley, and my background is in newspapers and marketing, and so it would be no surprise that I would introduce a news element to the portal. I revamped the site from the ground up, and brought in an events calendar and a sortable business and community directory. These are all great drivers of traffic and in the first year, visits doubled from around 50k to 100k, and they’re still increasing, now heading for 150k by the end of the year.
With that being the first major piece of work to get underway, I wanted to focus on securing the not-for-profit status of Forres Local, which would start the ball rolling on other projects in the pipeline.
And so I am pleased to say that Forres Local is now part of a Community Interest Company, or CIC, which allows it to trade as a not-for-profit venture. It’s a limited company, but it doesn’t have shares, so any money it makes is put back into the company for the purpose it was set up. Up until now, it has been run by me as a volunteer, but now as a company, it will work towards raising revenue, funding and sponsorship that will allow it to grow. Things are moving forward and a new director has joined the company today.
As for the other projects, these are under wraps for now, but it won’t be long before I can spill the beans. They are fairly major projects, so things need to be in place before they are announced, and of course, it will give me something to write about in the next post.