Hastings Independent Press (HIP), the community-led free newspaper, is seeking £15,000 investment through crowdfunding as looks to move into a more professional office space and build up its distribution service.
The title, published every two weeks, is currently run on a shoestring budget by a team of volunteers.
As well as reporting on local news, the title promotes local issues and provides journalism training and work experience to local people.
The title, which is politically left-wing, has been running for two years and has just published its 50th issue. To date, it has raised £1,125 through its crowdfunding exercise.
Jon Dunham, director of the East Sussex paper, says that HIP is a vital source for training journalists in the area, after the University of Brighton said it would be withdrawing running its journalism course on its Hastings campus.
Jane Grimshaw, a reader of HIP, who has also appeared in the paper for her work with Hastings Supports Refugees, said: “It’s a community paper, for and of the community. It’s led and inspired by members of the community with an inclusive approach to reporting what is happening in our area.”
Very few of HIP’s volunteers have formal training in journalism, so those that are trained journalists run training sessions at a local careers centre. Recent sessions have included news writing, law for journalists and photojournalism.
Volunteer Leanne Cannon, who is studying English with the Open University, said: “I came to HIP to learn new skills, become more confident in my writing and gain new experiences. Working with HIP I feel that I can reach those goals.”
The East Sussex seaside town as a paid-for weekly newspaper published by Johnston Press. The Hastings Observer is no-longer audited by ABC, but had a paid-for weekly circulation of 18,000 in 2010 (the last last time its figures were audited).