Letter from the Editor – December 2020

Welcome to December’s edition of The Caterham and District Independent.

Well, we’ve made it. As we move through the final weeks of what has been a strange and unsettling year I’m profoundly grateful that not only are we still here, but that we’re ending our first twelve months bigger and better than ever before, with plenty of exciting plans for the future. There’s no doubt that it’s been tough but, as my Dad always says, ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way’, and we definitely have had the will to succeed.

It’s also time to celebrate; the re-launched Caterham & District Independent is now 1-year old! My first edition, as Editor, was published in December 2019. While I knew that nearly all new businesses struggle at the beginning, I definitely wasn’t prepared for the challenges that a global pandemic would throw at us. My learning curve was much steeper than I could ever have imagined it would be. It wasn’t just a case of getting the paper to print on time (which is hard enough) but also having to constantly adapt to ensure it stayed in print during both lockdowns.

None of it would have been possible without my incredible team. I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of them for their hard work and support, particularly Andy who is the single member of the ‘Design Team’. Without him the paper would never get to print. He has taken multi-tasking to a new level in recent weeks, working extra hard to ensure the paper was ready to go to print while he waited for the birth of his second child, who arrived at the end of November. Congratulations to you and your family, Andy!

A thanks must also go to our printers and distributors who get the paper out there for us, and to all our advertisers who make it financially possibly for us to produce and distribute the paper to the community each month. Finally thank you to you, our readers. I’m so grateful for all your encouragement and involvement , after all, you’re the reason we’re here!
We’re always looking for new ways to deliver news to our community, as well as to provide a platform for local businesses and residents to have their say. In the last few months you may have noticed that we have expanded. Not only do we cover local news issues, support the area’s businesses and bring you human interest stories each month in the paper, but we now also have The Caterham Independent News Hour on Ridge Radio every Monday at 10am AND our new ‘In the Spotlight’ podcast too and we’re delighted with the interest that everybody is showing in it. We’ve published eight so far and have many scheduled for the forthcoming weeks. Our spring recording schedule is filling up fast and so if you or your business would like to be interviewed for our podcast please get in touch.

Our YouTube channel was also launched recently too. It was primarily started to give our fabulous Lockdown Fest videos a permanent home (more on that in a moment), but we now have lots of other plans in place for it in 2021. Please search for our channel – ‘The Caterham and District Independent’ and subscribe, to see what we’re up to.

On Saturday 28th November the team embarked on a new (and logistically challenging!) project; The Caterham Lockdown Fest! A whole day of live broadcasts and pre-recorded videos from local businesses and residents, which showcased the amazing talent we have among us. I got in on the action too, and was interviewed by the paper’s reporter, Rosalind Brookman, talking about the ups and downs of the paper’s first year and discussing what’s to come in the following months. The success of the event was down to the skill and enthusiasm of our podcast expert, Al Green, who co-ordinated everything and kept it running smoothly. Thanks Al – can’t wait to do it all over again next year!

As I write this, we are about to leave the national lockdown and go, along with the rest of Surrey, into Tier 2. Although many businesses are able to remain open, we still face strict restrictions on where we can go and who we can see. There’s a small reprieve over the Christmas period, where we can travel and stay with family and friends but from conversations I’ve had recently I know that many people don’t feel comfortable about doing that at the moment. This means that that there will be a lot of us choosing to stay home this year which, if it’s not what you usually do, is likely to feel quite strange. If you aren’t able to be with all the people you love this Christmas I sincerely hope you are still able to enjoy the festivities wherever you are.

I’ll leave you with some wise words from the indomitable Michelle Obama, which feel extremely pertinent as we come to the end of 2020.
“You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.”

? Michelle Obama
Have a happy and peaceful Christmas and I’ll see you in the New Year!

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