It’s our first birthday
NN Journal has been publishing news from across NN1 to NN29 for twelve months
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We’re celebrating our first birthday this week. We’re delighted that we’ve managed to make it through our first year, a big feat for all new businesses and especially those in the local news business, which has been finding it very hard in recent years.
We’ve been able to get through our first twelve months thanks to the support of our members, so many thank you for giving us your backing. Read more about us here
We’re keen to grow our membership, so if you can give our news service a mention to friends, that would be much appreciated.
Also if you are currently on our free list and wanted to give us some financial support you can do so here. Just £5 a month will get you an original piece of local journalism sent to your inbox each week day morning.
We decided to mark our first anniversary by having a look at the impact our local journalism has had over the past year and give you an insight into what we’ve got planned for 2022.
Greg’s homeless plight
One of our first stories from January last year was about Greg, who had been living in his car in a side road near Titchmarsh for six years. The report highlighted the social issue of Northamptonshire’s hidden homeless, with the numbers of people living rough growing sharply in our county in recent years.
In February, when Greg went for a walk, his car was towed away by Northamptonshire Police, leaving Greg with nowhere to go. Our follow up report highlighted the heavy handed response from the police and led to Greg having his beloved car returned.
With support from the local village Greg was put up in caravan accommodation although we now understand he has moved on from there.
In August we launched our year long Levelling Up Project in response to discovering that five areas in Northamptonshire were recognised as official ‘left behind neighbourhoods’ by the government.
Our aim for the project is to dig behind the data and report from the areas and speak with residents about how they view where they live and what they want and need to see change.
In October we ran a series of well received articles, which have raised the profile of the communities and their issues. As a result of this we have also now been commissioned to look at knife crime and its impact in these areas: both the Hazel Leys and Queensway wards saw a teenager murdered this summer in knife attacks. We will be working with communities and interviewing local residents for a series of podcasts that will run this Spring in association with Northamptonshire based charity C2C social action.
We were also invited to Westminster by the All Party Parliamentary Group for ‘Left Behind’ Neighbourhoods, which is taking a look at different methods that could inform future government policy on how the areas are improved. Unfortunately Covid restrictions got in the way of this happening, so we hope to be able to attend in the new year.
Also in response to reading our initial reports about the county’s left behind areas, Labour councillor Zoe McGhee lodged a motion at North Northamptonshire Council in late July calling on the authority to take action and come up with a plan for how the authority can help level up these areas.
This led to the council’s scrutiny commission setting up a working group, which led by Cllr McGhee has been looking at the issues and holding walkabouts and meetings for local residents. It’s findings and recommended actions will be reported in the coming months.
Afghan widow Samia* given secure social housing
In December we highlighted the case of Afghan widow Samia* who was facing eviction by Northampton Partnership Homes after her husband died of Covid.
Only arriving in the country at the start of 2021, Samia was widowed shortly afterwards and was then told that although pregnant she may be evicted as she had no hold on the tenancy.
After we reported her circumstances the deputy leader of West Northamptonshire Council Adam Brown intervened and Samia has now been allowed to remain in her home. She also welcomed a new baby in the same week.
However Samia* has a young son in Afghanistan, who is now in hiding with a relative. We will be taking up Samia’s case to be reunited with her son in the new year.
*Name has been changed
Absent councillor decides to resign
We highlighted how North Northamptonshire Councillor Annabel de Capell Brooke had moved to Norfolk and was not attending council meetings in person. We also exposed the thousands she had received in allowances, including those for meetings that as chairwoman she had never convened.
Following our exclusive, Cllr de Capell Brooke has signalled her intention to resign, meaning that a by-election should take place in the Oundle ward in the coming year.
Many thanks for supporting us and receiving our regular news about Northamptonshire. We have had a good first year and have established ourselves as a trusted news source in Northamptonshire.
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