Changes in 2019 – Reviewing 2018

Changes in 2019 – Reviewing 2018

2018 may not be over but with just days to go before Christmas, it’s time to look back at what has happened this year and look ahead at what’s to come.

As with every year before, Spotted in Ely has helped with lost and found items, travel reports, local good news and community issues, local event awareness and so much more. We’ve now set up a Littleport page on our website specifically for the villages news items, all possible thanks to the great work Maria Stableford. We are looking to set up ones for other locations.

In 2018 over 3,000 hours have been spent gathering all the information for Ely and surrounding villages. This has created more than 5 million post engagements on Facebook and encouraged over 1 million views on our website for the first time.

You may have noticed that more and more of the news items are now on the website? This is so we can create a better library of historical news but this comes at a price to keep the server running, especially with the number of high quality images we receive.

Running Spotted in Ely also comes at a cost personally both financially and mentally. This year we’ve had some serious issues to resolve in-house with people who wanted to work with us under a different agenda. This has created a small but manageable rift between those people and a few select followers, but Spotted in Ely maintains the same premise it started with, it’s a brand and it needs to protect itself.

Financially, the site has been funded with some job adverts and few advertorials but mostly by us and in 2019, this has to change.

In November 2018, after much thought and chat, we considered to shut down SiE and to be honest this could be a possibility as the cost is just too much month on month to maintain and I have to go and work late evenings to make up the shortfall in our own bills and running costs meaning I am working over 80 hours a week and this isn’t healthy.

BUT, the good news is, we are staying open for business in 2019 but before I go on and tell you the changes to be made, let me tell you about something I am doing in January and I need your support.

Thanks to Matt and Atrium Fitness Ely, I am going to be doing a 30 day COUCH to MINI-TRIATHLON challenge which will see me hopefully complete a 1k swim, 25k bike and 5k run on Sunday 3rd or 10th February (based on weather) around Ely. This is not an organised triathlon, just one I will be doing. We will keep a video diary of the whole project and make a documentary at the end plus daily social media updates.

WHY? Well 2 reasons, (actually many reasons but 2 main reasons).

Firstly, we want to create a SiE Community Fund which will help and benefit local charities, organisations etc with various projects. It will also be used to help us start our Community Stars Project (may not be the name, still working on that one) in association with the Cathedral. They are really keen to do something every month during 2019 with us on this project. I have set myself, what feels like an impossible target to raise £10,000 from my get fit to triathlon project but big targets mean I work harder every day. This fund will also create a “The Apprentice” style program for local schools to learn business skills.

The second reason is simple, I used to enjoy being fit and was a big cross country runner during my school and RAF days. These days with my various jobs, I do a lot of sitting around and often eat junk, so time to change. Not getting any younger.

During training and the event itself, I invite people to join me. You can do part or all of the event. Your choice. I’ll be taking part in gym work, swim, fitness classes etc. Chuck a donation in and join us and be part of the social media activity.

I am also looking for a serious corporate sponsor to help fund the project and put some change into the donation bin also. In return, I am happy to promote you with branded wear and over the various social media activities.

Back to SiE in 2019.

I make no bones that we lose money each month and I have to work extra hours to make those up. We have bills to so I cannot stop that but we have to consider who we help.

From now and with immediate effect, SiE will no longer post for people asking for recommendations. People asking for those will be sent a link to our business directory. We know of lots of companies who have done well out of the recommendations and a very small handful have come forward and done some advertising with us and very few have thanked us.

We also get a lot of companies messaging us asking for our time to help them promote a good cause project they are doing. While we appreciate the gesture they are committing, if they don’t support us in the first place then we will now have to refuse to help. We just do not have the time.

Next our Event Calendar. This is where Alison spends most of her time and personally, I think there are better ways using the new Facebook Local system. Until July 2019, side by side, we are accepting co-host requests. This means your event will appear on the Spotted in Ely events tab. This does not mean we will automatically promote the event on the main timeline. We will be asking for a small fee for this happen.

The jobs section – we have huge success for those who use this section. We currently charge £49 per listing, we will be increasing this to £79 from early 2019. We have an over 90% hit rate and some amazing reviews. Other sites are 10x this and other local media is into the hundreds of pounds. “Fulfilling Local Jobs for Local People”

Trying to create a wage for 2 isn’t cheap and unless we can monetize SiE, then it will disappear and the date I am determining for that choice is July 2019.

Spotted in Ely isn’t just a notice board like other groups etc, we get out and get involved and that is what has made us different and so when people say cut back, well if we do then we are just a notice board and so we are determined to make differences and be different.

We recently had congratulations from the local Police due to some things that we have stuck our nose into that has made changes in policies and we have a few other things we want to stick our nose into also. We also want to get into more campaigns like Ask for Angela and I’m Des.

SiE for the next 6-7 months is at use us or lose it stage. We want to help local businesses and groups but they to must help us, co-operation is key and we ask that if we put something out for you, don’t leave it there, share it just like you do when other media put it out. For certain events, we may ask for a donation for our time.

Likewise, in 2019 we will be selective with the events we take part in due to those time constraints. Often, more than one event type may clash with another, we find we enjoy being more involved with the the event that involves us most. For us to attend events, we need planning time. We are constantly asked 20 hours before if we can attend and this just isn’t possible.

Much more to come in the next months.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Team Spotted in Ely.

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