Bureau Local announces three new funders

The Bureau Local is delighted to announce it has just received investment from three new funders, for its important work to produce unique, investigative stories that have positive impacts in communities across the UK.

Google News Initiative, Lankelly Chase and the European Journalism Centre have given funding to enable the Bureau Local to continue running and deepen its work from 2019 and beyond.

Ronan Harris, MD, Google UK and Ireland said: “The Bureau Local has created an effective new model for collaborative data journalism, covering the stories that impact us in our cities, schools and communities. We’re delighted to provide funding and partnership through the Google News Initiative to enable them to deliver high impact journalism and build a stronger future for local news.”

The Bureau Local is a network of nearly 800 collaborators in 100 areas across the UK. Since launching 18 months ago it has produced over 250 unique stories on topics of local and national interest.

Recently, the Bureau Local launched a national media campaign (#makethemcount) to count those who die homeless on UK streets and in temporary accommodation, after discovering there was no official record. The reporting revealed at least 449 people died while homeless in the past 12 months. Since our reporting, there have been local and national policy actions, including the government announcing it will count and record the deaths. We are working with officials to help them build a database.

Our Bureau Local highlight video

Transformative funding

The Bureau Local launched in March 2017 with two year’s worth of funding ($660,000) from Google’s Digital News Initiative. Shortly after, Open Society Foundations added its financial support and the Bureau Local was able to expand its tech, community organising and Local Story Fund capacity.

This original funding was given to support the concept through two years of experimentation. Thanks to this funding we have been able to take the idea of the Bureau Local and prove its value and impact. We’ve shown that an effective and inclusive collaborative journalism project can have real impact on the UK news ecosystem and bridge the widening gap between local and national.

This combined funding ends in March 2019 and the Bureau Local team has been working to find new funding that would take investment in an idea to investment in a sustainable model that diversifies our funding, roots us in communities and has longevity.

We’re thrilled that the following two funders have already given significant, three-year contributions:

  • Google News Initiative - Google's global programme to to help journalism thrive in the digital age
  • Lankelly Chase - an independent foundation working in partnership with people across the UK to change the systems that perpetuate severe and multiple disadvantage

We’re very proud of the diversity in our funders - in industry and aim - and believe these two show the range of support possible.

We’ve also been awarded €50,000 from the European Journalism Centre’s Engaged Journalism fund to bring in some business development expertise and establish a business plan that can support our future.

Kathryn Geel, the Accelerator Programme Director said, "We’re thrilled to be supporting the Bureau Local. The team's approach to community engagement is truly collaborative. We anticipate that this resource will contribute to Bureau Local's long-term financial resilience, and help it to continue to create a positive impact within the community and within the wider journalism ecosystem."

The Bureau Local made this year’s Nesta/Observer 50 New Radicals list as "one of Britain's best social enterprises making a real difference to society". It has been described as "one of the most positive and effective interventions in local journalism in the UK for some time" and has won multiple awards, including the Innovation prize at both the British Journalism Awards (2017) and the European Press Prize (2018). It has inspired a German not-for-profit news organisation, CORRECTIV, to replicate the model.

This new funding takes us nearly halfway to our goal of funding the Bureau Local project for the next three years.

We're still looking for both major supporters and contributions at all levels to support our work. Get in touch with us at [email protected].

Header image of Elaine and David Potter, the Bureau's founders and longtime supporters, at a Bureau event, by Rob Stothard/TBIJ