Sometimes they come in three’s – the saying goes but this week the team behind the ‘Life’Magazine project held a launch of the new look for the town – a new website for the town, the initial results from the Town Benchmarking Survey AND the fifth edition of the Life Magazine.
A great number of local contributors, community representatives and most importantly of all the subscribing Advertisers – those in the business community who underwrite the €50,000 approximate annual costs; were present at the Carlton Shearwater Hotel this week.
Since its inception in 2001, the magazine has grown and developed from a 36 page magazine with a distribution of 27,000 copies to an average print run of 5,000 (peaking to 37,500 copies 2014 ) thanks to the ongoing support of community organisations and groups who have shown such wonderful support over the years.
Chairman of the BACD Seamus Duffy welcomed the large respresentative crowd – especially welcoming the local elected representatives and the Acting CEO of Galway County Council Kevin Kelly as well as the Cathairleach of the Municipal District Area Council – Cllr Michael Coneelly and Brian Egan Area Manager West of Enterprise Ireland.
Advertising and Circulation Manager Lyn Donnelly gave a very detailed breakdown of the income and costs associated with the project – noting that the magazine enjoyed some 72 advertisers of which some 44 were founding subscribers. She paid tribute to the Transition Year students of Garbally College and the pool of volunteer drivers who ensure that within 3 to 4 hours of a Friday morning over 3,000 households in the town and old urban catchment areas receive their free copy. She also warmly thanked Ken Kelly who undertook the delivery of almost a 1000 copies to all the national schools within a 10 km of town and various nursing homes.
Editor Colm Croffy reviewed the growing on-line and offline readership of the publication with some 40,000 regular on-line readers between issue, Facebook and the blog – allied to the paper readership of some 7,000. This is a huge potential advertising reach for the business community and some 16 new businesses or firms were profiled by the Magazine in the last 12 months.
Sinéad Colleran herself the PR and Office Manager with HSE Community Games then unveiled the new look of the Town’s Official website – www.ballinasloe.ie – which went live this week and aims to place Ballinalsoe, its amenities, events, attractions and businesses professionally and properly on the Google map. Sinéad pointed out that the news and feature content for the Website would come from the Ballinasloe Life Magazine desk – including the bi- monthly events guide.
She pointed out however that the technology allows businesses once registered to divert the user to their own Facebook or website with more tailored information.
Seamus Duffy thanked Sinéad who undertook the build of the new website as a volunteer for her community and thanked the Council for allocating the old town council domain name to B.A.C.D.
The final segment of a very positive community evening was the outline presentation by Chris Wade CEO of People for Places on the Town Benchmarkng Report which saw unprecedented numbers of surveys being administered to the town centre users and indeed over 80% of the business community within the precincts of the town centre.
Chris outlined the results and undertook a question and answer session with the audience who at times had a different view of how aspects of the town were perceived or rated by the shoppers, users and business owners.
There was much to be positive about and in a revealing question and answer session afterwards it was made clear that whilst there was work to be done on the challenges – the foundation for a very successful niche provincial town was all at our feet. The full results of the town benchmarking on-line and footfall and business sentiment surveys will be made available to the community on-line by the end of March .
Chairman Seamus Duffy introduced & thanked Jacinta Divilly, the Town Team facilitator and her town team; who have been tasked with interpreting the data into an agreed issue list to feed into an action plan for community led local revival.
He also thanked Lyn, Colm , the LIFE Reporters including the newest U.L. recruit Zara Hill and all the various contributors , advertisers and volunteers who have combined to make the Magazine the award winning success that it is.
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