The Aldershot Mail has found a new way to connect with the largest ethnic minority group in its circulation area – a bi-lingual edition in Nepali and English.
The paper, owned by Guardian Media Group, published its dual-language edition today and printed each story – and an additional masthead – in Nepali to cater for the growing Nepalese community, one of the largest outside Nepal.
The Brigade of the Gurkhas, Nepalese soldiers who have fought alongside British servicemen for 200 years, were historically based at Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Church Crookham near Fleet. They have since moved their base to Kent but many families have remained.
The paper, with a paid-for circulation of 9,900, has had hundreds of extra orders for the edition.
In 2004 the government decided to allow Gurkhas who retired from the Army after 1997, with at least four years’ service, to settle in the UK with their families.
Mail editor Elaine Cole said: ‘This paper has always striven to serve everyone,’she said. ‘This has traditionally included people who struggle to make their voices heard – such as young people, the homeless, and those with disabilities. With this edition we hope to do the same for our significant Nepalese population.
‘There are concerns about friction between the Nepalese and white communities including reports of gangs of young people fighting and bullying in schools. Hopefully, this edition will go some way to helping healing those rifts and building greater understanding.”
Nepalese journalists helped with the translation of stories.
Cole said: ‘We will do this again – whether it’s a full paper or a regular section. We believe this will attract advertising and improve circulation. But it is not just about revenue – it’s about reaching people and building understanding between people.”