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The Guildford Dragon Leads the Way By Being Granted Charitable Status

Published on: 19 Feb, 2024
Updated on: 19 Feb, 2024

The Guildford Dragon NEWS has been officially registered as a charity.

The news is seen as a glimmer of hope for its future and for local journalism and our ailing local democracy throughout the UK.

It is a groundbreaking decision. For the first time, a local newspaper will be registered with “public interest news” purposes – purposes that reflect the importance of reliable, public interest news to communities around the UK.

Dragon editor Martin Giles said: “It is really good news that we have been awarded charity status and I thank all those who have supported our application. It was not a simple task and has taken over two and a half years.

Dragon editor Martin Giles

“But being granted official charity status will mean nothing if we cannot raise sufficient funds needed  to make The Dragon sustainable so we can continue to serve our readers and our borough with a local news service.

“Hopefully others might be able to follow our example. The granting of charity status to public interest news organisations was one of the recommendations of the Cairncross review in 2019.

“I would like to put on record my thanks to my colleague Hugh Coakley, who did a lot of the preparatory work on the application, and to the Public Interest News Foundation, who funded the supporting legal services, and Tom Murdoch and his team from Stone King LLP.

“We believe the decision rightly reflects the importance of The Dragon to its local community. But it also opens this charitable ‘public interest news’ option to other, suitable newspapers around the UK, which serve their local communities in the same way.

“Charitable status offers access to important new sources of funding and tax relief, which can put newspapers on a more sustainable financial footing. Local communities, and local democracy generally, can grow stronger on the back of this development.

Dame Frances Cairncross, author of the Cairncross review, with Dragon editor Martin Giles in 2019.

“The Charity Commission is to be applauded for this decision, which is soundly based in law. It follows its earlier decision on Public Interest News Foundation, which established that ‘public interest news’ advances citizenship and strengthens communities. The Commission published that decision, because it was of interest and value to the wider sector, but PINF is not a news provider – it exists to support other organisations.

“But the charity status is no guarantee of success. It will only mean anything if those who feel The Dragon is worthwhile contribute, either with financial donations or their time. Our initial aim is to raise sufficient funds to employ at least two people, an editor and a business manager to develop advertising and circulation.

“We really need some help and support because our small volunteer team is already fully stretched providing the existing service.”

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Responses to The Guildford Dragon Leads the Way By Being Granted Charitable Status

  1. John Ferns Reply

    February 19, 2024 at 1:09 am

    In the heart of Guildford, a Dragon roars with glee,
    Brilliant news of its team with their vision to see,
    Independent reporting, incisive and bold,
    A beacon of truth in a world of stories untold.

    With passion and purpose, they took a stand,
    To shine a light on the news of the nearby land,
    Guildford Dragon, soaring high and proud,
    In the realm of journalism, its voice rings loud.

    And now, a milestone achieved, a status granted,
    Charitable wings spread, a mission enchanted,
    To serve the community, to educate and inform,
    A new chapter written, a legacy born.

    So let us raise a toast, to Martin Giles and his crew,
    To the Guildford Dragon, a symbol of truth anew,
    In a world of chaos and confusion, they stand tall,
    A testament to the power of independent reporting for all.

    Editor’s response: Wow! Not sure we can live up to this but we do our best.

  2. Jim Allen Reply

    February 19, 2024 at 1:35 am

    What excellent news. Congratulations to The Dragon team, especially Martin Giles.

    Editor’s response: Thank you but the special thanks should go to my colleague Hugh Coakley and the legal team at Stone King LLP. They did the hard work, the lawyers paid for by the Public Interest News Foundation. Without its support this would not have happened.

  3. Mark Stamp Reply

    February 19, 2024 at 2:08 am

    Congratulations to The Dragon. I know this was a long road for the Dragon team and hope this puts Guildford’s online newpaper on the path to a more sustainable future.

  4. Philip Brooker Reply

    February 19, 2024 at 8:42 am

    Congratulations to Martin Giles and all at The Dragon. Keep up the good work!

    Philip Brooker is the Conservative leader of the opposition at Guildford Borough Council.

  5. Tony Edwards Reply

    February 19, 2024 at 11:36 am

    Congratulations to Martin Giles and the team. Hopefully The Dragon’s new charitable status will open the door to a broad spectrum of opportunities for the future.

    Editor’s response. Thank you Tony. As a former contributor, your supportive words much appreciated and sentiments shared.

  6. Harry Eve Reply

    February 19, 2024 at 1:09 pm

    Long may the Guildford Dragon continue with its even-handed approach to reporting. Charitable status cannot have been easy to achieve so well done and especially to Hugh Coakley.

    • Daniel Andrew Reply

      February 19, 2024 at 7:12 pm

      Congratulations! I am very grateful to The Dragon for helping me keep abreast of news from home. Well done for flying the flag for local democracy.

  7. David Roberts Reply

    February 19, 2024 at 1:17 pm

    This is wonderful news and a blow to those pompous local politicians who in the past have attacked The Dragon’s objectivity and made fools of themselves by refusing to be interviewed.

    It proves that a charitable mission to serve the community as a whole is compatible with free speech and the confident expression of strong opinions, and that there is no need to pull punches on local matters.

    It also gives official endorsement to the principle of local transparency and allows The Dragon, unlike a commercial newspaper, to claim authoritatively to be operating in the public interest.

  8. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    February 19, 2024 at 1:58 pm

    Excellent news indeed! Well done. Congratulations to Martin Giles and the team.

  9. Anthony Mallard Reply

    February 19, 2024 at 2:35 pm

    Excellent news, congratulations to all members of the team that worked so hard to achieve this charitable status.

    Long may the Guildford Dragon NEWS live to independently report on matters of interest and concern to the residents of Guildford.

  10. Howard Smith Reply

    February 19, 2024 at 2:42 pm

    Congratulations both to the editor and to Hugh Coakley who seems to have played a huge part in this. Your work is much appreciated. Long live The Dragon!

    Howard Smith, is a Labour borough councillor for Westborough.

    Editor’s response. Thank you. Yes, Hugh did all the heavy lifting with the application from our side and deserves special credit.

  11. Carol Norris Reply

    February 20, 2024 at 12:05 am

    Congratulations to The Dragon.

  12. Nicholas Bale Reply

    February 20, 2024 at 10:38 am

    Many congratulations. The time and effort put in by Guildford Dragon News team is much appreciated and I am delighted that you have established a path towards long term viability.

  13. Brian Creese Reply

    February 20, 2024 at 1:52 pm

    Excellent news – congratulations to all concerned…

    Brian Creese is a former chair of Guildford Labour

  14. Bill Stokoe Reply

    February 20, 2024 at 2:24 pm

    Well done, Martin Giles and the team. I hope it really does help secure the long-term future of The Dragon.

  15. Juemin Xu Reply

    February 20, 2024 at 2:31 pm

    Congratulations! May the Dragon live long and prosper! Well deserved for your service to everyone here.

    • David Roberts Reply

      February 21, 2024 at 9:44 am

      A good start to the year of The Dragon!

  16. Graham Hibbert Reply

    February 21, 2024 at 10:43 am

    My congratulations to the team at The Dragon for providing an excellent local service and being an essential part of our local democracy. The designation is richly deserved.

  17. Gavin Morgan Reply

    February 22, 2024 at 8:21 am

    Congratulations Martin Giles, David Rose, Hugh Coakley and everyone involved in The Dragon. Guildford would be so much poorer without you and the community would be blind to what is really going on.

    I seem to remember a councillor years back describing The Dragon as “just a blog”. Some blog! Long may it continue.

  18. Fiona Yeomans Reply

    February 22, 2024 at 10:12 pm

    Congratulations! This is a real boost for you and we look forward to supporting you.

  19. Jan Messinger Reply

    February 23, 2024 at 8:32 am

    Wonderful news and look at all this support in the comments. The wide variety and constant daily news delivered by The Guildford Dragon NEWS is quite different to the same old topics covered by other news outlets.

    Martin, Hugh and David you do an amazing job. You work so hard.

  20. Barbara Ford Reply

    February 25, 2024 at 2:36 pm

    Many congratulations to everyone concerned! That includes readers – we all need The Dragon. Long may it continue to roar!

  21. Anna Windebank Reply

    February 26, 2024 at 8:38 am

    Well, thank goodness for that. Ethical news reporting lives to fight another day.

    Onward and upward!

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