THE BRAINS BEHIND CHIRK NEWSLETTER

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It’s 2006 in Chirk British Legion, an event is happening called a visioning event.


Chirk community members have gathered to discuss what the community needs, the answer? A newsletter, which Julie Fawcett and Sue Horsler continue to this day.


Julie said “We never envisaged the newsletter would grow like it has done.”

Who is Julie Fawcett?

Julie has been a member of Chirk Newsletter since its beginnings, while she has no official title, she is the copywrighter, secretary, news compiler and correspondent.


Julie had no experience in creating a newsletter when they began, but plenty of experience in being a correspondent, working for the Evening Leader and the Oswestry Advertizer.


“I had experience being a correspondent but no experience of putting a newsletter together. Martin Wright, editor of the Advertizer at the time was at the meeting. He would put the newsletter together to send to the printers, he became very busy as his other jobs progressed, but he is always there to provide us with good, professional help.”

Who is Sue Horsler?

Once the news has been compiled and edited, it’s sent to Sue Horsler at Printing Solutions in Chirk.


Sue said “The printers who were here before me used to do it, when I took over the business I continued it. I didn’t start type setting it, Chirk Newsletter had a volunteer doing it who worked for North Wales newspapers as a professional editor.”


Chirk Newsletter and Printing Solutions are a brilliant partnership and a fantastic community gesture.


Sue said “From a business point of view, it’s not a massive money maker. It’s a community gesture, we do a lot of it for the village.”

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The Team

Chirk Newsletter consists of a small team of volunteers, around ten. They have the support of the local councillors, Chairman Councillor Terry Evans and Treasurer Councillor Jackie Allen. They are a very small committee who meet three times a year, the newsletter coincides with Christmas, Easter and Spring/Summer.


Chirk Newsletter has good connections with the local factory Kronospan, they receive good sponsorship as Mike Mckenna, Chairman of Kronospan Ltd used to be on the committee, they also receive great help from Chirk Town Council also.


While the newsletter is published as a journalistic piece, the team do not consider themselves journalists.


Julie said “We are not really journalists, rather communicators of the community.”


The Creation Process

Chirk Newsletter has a long list of contributors for each newsletter, some stories are self sourced, while some are sent in via email. The newsletter has regular contributors, for example, the local Brownies group.


“We especially try to include personal stories such as community awards and Chirk Citizen of the Year.”

“We try to include every story that is emailed to us, but Chirk gets priority over outside of Chirk.”


They work to tight deadlines, starting a month before the publishing date. The deadline for the stories to be sent in for the next issue is placed on the front page of every newsletter.


Pieces filter in slowly, and advertisements are placed to finish off the newsletter. Last minute changes are sometimes needed.


“We have not increased the price of advertisements since the beginning, but this is something we will be considering due to the change to colour printing”.


The inside of Chirk Newsletter has always stayed the same but the covers have been tweaked to modernise the layout.


“The colour covers have made a big difference, we’re never short of local photographs which are donated by the local community members.”


Sue has upgraded from standard paper to better quality paper to improve the professional aesthetic of the newsletter.

The Distribution Process

Chirk Newsletter is distributed once every four months, with roughly 2250 copies being printed. The newsletter initially began at 36 pages, increasing to 40 and the latest issue being 52 pages.


Sue said “We may look at a new layout for the next issue, the more pages we print the scrappier the book becomes.”


The distribution team meet at Chirk Parish Hall where they divide the copies and post to different areas of Chirk, the area of Lodgevale alone has over 500 copies, and with more houses being built around Chirk, this number will increase. 50 copies are also taken to Chirk Castle which are gone within a few days.


The newsletters are distributed as far as Pentre, The Forge and all around the local town, with issues being posted by relatives of people who have moved away from Chirk.


An Enjoyable Process

While the process can be difficult, Julie and Sue overcome their technical difficulties and manage to print their issues on time every time.


Julie said “I enjoy the personal stories, seeing whats happening and bringing the community together. I love hearing people say how much they value it, its still as much of a need today as it was when we started which is tricky to maintain.”

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Would you like to contribute?

If you would like to submit a story or an advertisement, or you would like some extra information about the newsletter, please contact Julie at juliefawcett@aol.com or Sue at sue@printingsolutionschirk.co.uk, additionally you can call 01691 773642.