Very Local Media blossoming in Lozells – but who should keep watering it?

I was really pleased to find the first bulletins from Lozells News – a new child led digital service, appear in my feed stream last week:

Lozells News Highlights from can uk on Vimeo.

This is a project from CAN-UK, who’ve been working from Ladywood for more than a decade. Lozells already has the very fine and the South Lozells Housing Regeneration area is beginning to use the web to tell the story of how it is progressing, see

A couple of things.

The first is the question of how to integrate these a little better and so seed more local story telling? Perhaps a local social media surgery might help? It is a certainly somehting I’d be interested in.

The other is that our own experience of creating local news with young people  in Frankley or Castle Vale (and others) tells us there remains a problem of how we keep things going once the project ends. There’s no lack of enthusiasm from the young people:  Comments like

this was the best week ive had at Frankley, and making this podcast was a great experiance!


can’t wait to see if we do anything else

show there is an appetite for more.  It’s rarely an issue of equipment or websites etc, these are now cheap enough and simple enought to leave behind.  I think the problem is often who will take the lead/ownership in your absence.

So thoughts?  How could we ensure that when the project dosh dries up the storytelling keeps flowing?


  1. alex says:


    We are working on a project in north edinburgh to get young chidren to engage with computer games, the local college and youth clubs, police etc…..

    Part of the plan is to try and make it sustainable by using extensible games like the Sims. There is also going to be an element of competition as we will re-ignite the Home Nations football by inviting Camden Youth Club to take part in some cross-border games.

    Sustainable – not quite sure. Maybe if we have youth workers, community, mums & dads, grandparents, schools i.e. tons of support mechanisms to keep it going

    Maybe if it proves to be fun and if the kids come up with ideas they can sell to others

    Games are more interactive than TV. I can see the struggle there – after all, ITV is knackered and they get the licence fee



  2. Nick Booth says:

    Thanks for the ideas Alex. You seem to be saying do things that people would want to naturally carry on?

    I wonder if news making/gathering is such a thing? We do like to gossip, but that’s almost effortless.

    I think I struggled with finding key adults who felt both confident enough and had enough time to keep things moving. I’ve learnt a lot since then and the second time round in Frankley we taught the kids who then taught the adults. It was an effort to build a learning group. Didn’t quite work, but certainly worth persisting with.

  3. Nick Booth says:

    My own response to the pay them comment is why do some things sustain through voluntary effort, children’s football leagues etc, and others don’t?

  4. Nick Booth says:

    Thanks Andy. I reckon the issue we have found is the business of hooking the motivated adult to provide guidance, safety, a little bit of herding.

  5. Ed says:

    met an interesting guy recently who sees it all as part of a greater whole; combine this sort of activism with training, learning and teaching; integrate it with local currencies for cash-free exchange, and deliver it on locally supported platforms generating local media… (local channels sound naff now, but with the demise of local papers as the nationals inhale all their money, it’s possible we’ll be wanting for local news)…

    sounds easy, no?


  6. RickWaghorn says:


    Why the assumption that it all has to be ‘voluntary’ – it’s the same premise that Will Perrin works with…

    Why not empower yourself with a DIY hyper-local ad system? Find hyper-local advertisers that want to place a little text ad on, say, and then with the money you earn… and it may be no more than £100 per month; whatever… plough that back into a spot of mini-funding; take out a little of the reliance on wholly voluntary efforts…

    Even a football club needs a little cash for the half-time oranges and washing powder… Well, I can give you the tool to do that.

    And it is a question of giving; all I’ve ever tried to do on the back of is to empower similar niche and hyper-local communities with the ability to generate a little bit more by way of text advertising than they’re ever likely to get off you-kno:grin:w-who…

    Drop us a line…

    All the best, etc

  7. Andy Mabbett says:

    Doh! Well, paint me misunderstanding 🙁

    Perhaps what’s missing for adults is an umbrella organisation? Thinking of parallels, there’s the RSPB running ‘Wildlife Explorers’ clubs, the FA for football, Cubs/ Scouts and so on.

    On the other hand, there are things like model railway clubs, with no national body, but they’re perhaps the exception rather than the rule.

    Would ‘newsmaking clubs’ be sustainable, or would it be better to embed the skill sin other organisations, such as those above, as an activity which underpins their main roles?

    You’re also up against the bureaucracy issue – police checks and all that – which has reportedly reduced the willingness of adults to volunteer to work with children.

  8. DK says:

    In regards to creating sustainability in any youth project the focus should be on governance and the adults involved…

    Empower the leaders/support workers/budget holders etc to understand, explore and adopt social media platforms & technologies and long lasting projects will roll from that.

  9. Chris Ivens says:

    This thread is actually making me think for the first time about looking into what exists or could be created for my local area. I’m no journalist but I’ve been reading more and more into the Moseley and Digbeth ‘scene’ via twitter and blogs that I’ve completely neglected my own back door. I’ll have a hunt this afternoon and maybe report back to and here.

  10. John Heaven says:

    Firstly, good old Google Alerts for finding this discussion for me!

    Secondly, I just thought I’d chip in because I’m working on the ‘Life in Lozells’ ( blog, which is run by the Lozells Neighbourhood Management. Part of my role is to come up with some ideas on just the issue raised here: how do we get more people independently using social media in the area?

    Following a very useful discussion with Pete Ashton (Kate, Neighbourhood Manager for Lozells, had a similar conversation with Jon Bounds), I’m coming round to the idea of being a signpost to other initiatives in the area — whether that be Sobia’s pictures on Flickr or the Bangladeshi Youth Forum putting their documentary on YouTube, and hopefully in the future a blog or two about the local area.

    Social media surgeries in Lozells would be a great push in the right direction. After all, Life in Lozells is a great start but I think no-one would deny that it would be much better to have people in the local area with the skills, access to technology and inclination to do it for themselves!

  11. Rob says:

    Great to see the Lozells News project getting stuck into streamed content… when I quizzed them at the event in the park they said they wouldn’t be able to make content available like that, so delighted to see it up on Vimeo… even if my bit about vision-lozells seems to have ended up on the cutting room floor 🙂

    I’m hoping to develop the start we’ve made on vision-lozells in exactly the direction discussed here, so watch this space as I’m sure we can build on the initial ideas along with John, Kate and

  12. Abby Corfan says:

    Hi Nick,

    Audiences Central is currently working with Multistory on a project called Beyond Bricks in Lozells and East Handsworth. I’ve forwarded your blog to Multistory to see if they have any ideas for cross over links and possible partners to keep this project going, as it looks great.


  13. Andy Mabbett says:

    I’ve been rethinking the examples I gave, above, and I now think the difference is not umbrella organisations, but that all the examples (those nationally coordinated and those not) are offshoots of activities for adults; and are probably seen as “feeders” for them. The incentive for the adult facilitators is a new generation to take up and carry on their work. That’s probably not the case with youth news gathering.

  14. Lee Martin says:

    Lozells News has had funding from Urban Living for a second season over the last 3 months delivered by Birmingham City Council & Can UK Media.
    Have a fresh look and let us know what you think?

    CAN UK Media

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