About us

The Great Central Gazette is an independent, not-for-profit newspaper in Leicester, written by and for local people.

Photo of Leicester from above King Power Stadium

The Gazette was launched in March 2023 by a team of local journalists to give Leicester a different kind of news coverage. Our reporters have over 15 years of combined experience writing for the likes of Private Eye, The Independent, Byline Times, The Canary, and Tribune Magazine.

We believe in the power of high-quality journalism over chasing clicks and advertising revenue — in fact, we're funded by readers like you. We set up as a co-operative, a type of business model that has no big shareholders or billionaire backers. Instead, people who can afford to support our work join for £2 per month and in return, they become co-owners of the newspaper. This allows members to steer the paper's editorial direction, vote at the annual general meeting (AGM) and elect the board of directors.

Alongside our hard-hitting investigative journalism and solutions-focused approach, we publish a weekly newsletter — Inside Leicester. Our free mailing list delivers fascinating local stories and great recommendations to your email inbox every Monday at 6am.

We also support and mentor people of all ages to be active citizens in today's world. We do that through workshops and events that teach people valuable media skills. Not only that, but we also take on interns and offer work experience to train the next generation of local journalists to the highest standards.

"The Gazette's co-operative, not-for-profit model is breaking new ground and working to fill the gap left by the decline of traditional media" – Nick Carter, ex-Leicester Mercury editor

How does it work?

Free to access

The Gazette is made free by members. We publish original, high-quality journalism on our website every week, plus the free weekly newsletter on Monday. Gazette members get an extra newsletter on the first Tuesday of the month — and the top section is free to read on our website.

Membership

Members pay anything from £2 per month (or £21.60 if they subscribe for a year) and can take part in important decision-making and vote for the board of directors. Members also get access to commenting and can join our member-only WhatsApp group. Many contribute to our reporting through callouts and support our growth beyond paying the monthly member contribution.

Run by volunteers (for now!)

We're a small, volunteer team with a shoestring budget. Most of our funding comes from membership contributions and grants. A tiny amount comes from newsletter sponsorships, website services, donations and our modest shop.

More than a newspaper

We're excited about where we're going — and we want to be more than just a publisher of local journalism. A great example of this is our events calendar, where anyone can submit an event or explore what's going on in the city, for free.

Beyond Leicester

A question we're so often asked is: why just Leicester and not Leicestershire too? It's simple, really — we wanted to start small. There's only three volunteer staff members, working the hours we can spare. In the near future, we hope to launch into the county and bring high-quality journalism to everyone living in the region. After all, we're called the “Great Central” Gazette, a reference to the heritage railway line that runs between Leicester and Loughborough.

Our impact so far

In November 2022, we crowdfunded £2,640 from 64 supporters in 42 days to help get The Gazette started. Shortly afterwards, we registered as a co-operative and joined the independent press regulator, Impress.

In March 2023, we officially launched our website alongside some great features — including this story about 19 Labour councillors who were 'purged' and prevented from standing in the local elections. We quickly grew, reaching thousands of people within the first few weeks.

Then in April, we received funding from Your Co-op and the Scurrah Wainwright Charity to cover the local and mayoral elections. This piece from Emma goes into detail about Leicester's most divisive election to date.

In September, we realised we had quickly outgrown our meagre website and quickly turned around a new and improved design. We re-launched our free newsletter, and soon after moved from fortnightly to weekly publishing.

November saw our first board of director elections. Three new reader directors were elected to advise the team — Dorothy Francis, Robin Cafferata and Lucy Faire. This month also heralded the end of our first financial year, which was an important milestone because we had raised over £10,000 in grants, donations, and membership contributions.

After a brief break over the new year period, the team return to work to shortlist candidates for ACE Internships, a De Montfort University-run scheme placing students with local organisations. DMU actually pays students for this internship, something we were unable to do in the early days — so it was incredibly exciting to have a larger team.

In February, we launched newsletter sponsorships. While we're committed to remaining ad-free, many charities, social enterprises and community groups told us they wanted a low-cost way to promote their work. We figured this was the best way to do this — without ruining the reading experience for most people.

One year on, in March 2024, we ran our first AGM and celebrated our first anniversary. Around 40 local people got together at Soft Touch Arts to share drinks, catch up and — most importantly — vote! It was here our members approved our Ethical Fundraising Policy and a Rule change permitting organisational members.

Our team

Our editor is Emma Guy, who is both a brilliant writer (read her compelling story on the family who endured seven years of abuse inside their own home) and a dedicated media trainer. Emma works across editorial but also teaches our interns and those on work experience the ropes. She edits our free weekly newsletter, Inside Leicester.

Rhys Everquill is our community lead, who works across fundraising, community engagement, daily operations and some editorial work too. His career as a journalist, writer, and community organiser has seen him publish exposés in Private Eye and work for organisations like Hacked Off, the Independent Media Association, and the Public Interest News Foundation. His incredible interview with Leicester's mayor was one of the first pieces we published when we launched.

Heading up communications is Megan Lupton, who is currently doing a PhD in podcast ethics, if you can believe! She has written some fantastic and creative features, including one on the long-forgotten suffragette Lilian Lenton. She makes sure our work has an impact in Leicester and beyond by taking charge of social media, media relations, graphic design and marketing.

We are joined by local democracy reporters Hannah Richardson, Tess Rushin, and Julia Breens who cover Leicester City Council, Leicestershire County Council, and the district and borough councils for The Gazette, the BBC, and other media partners. The Local Democracy Reporting Service is a BBC-funded scheme.

And of course, we are supported by a network of talented freelancers, the board of directors, volunteers, interns and those on work experience.

"I'm full of admiration for the team behind The Gazette. They have rapidly become an important voice for Leicester, helping fill the gap in local media" – Geoff Rowe, founder, Leicester Comedy Festival

Why support independent journalism?

Journalism is vital to our democracy. And we believe it should be free and accessible to everyone. That's why we do not have a hard paywall on our sit or clutter our articles with advertising that has nothing to do with our community.

By relying on membership contributions from individuals to cover the costs of journalism, our newsroom is constantly reminded of whom it ultimately serves: YOU, the reader.

Read some of our stories

The Musical Legacy of Ruth Miller
Musician and writer Nancy Dawkins walks us through Ruth Miller’s extraordinary musical life after her recent passing.
Gangs, syringes and bodily fluids: A view from behind the bar
A raw and unfiltered glimpse into the challenges workers in the hospitality industry face.
Reporter reunited with their long-lost first article, 22 years later
Almost exactly a year from the day my dad died, something beyond incredible happened. And it was all down to him.
Revealed: Leicester City FC’s gambling ties after Luke Ashton’s death
An investigative report by James Turrell sheds light on the intersection of football and gambling, raising crucial questions about responsibility and transparency in the industry.
The controversial legacy of Leicester-born poet Jessie Pope
Discover the captivating and controversial world of Leicester-born poet Jessie Pope, exploring her impact on First World War poetry.
The family who endured racist abuse inside their own home
And their journey for justice.
From spice roots to modern routes: Revisiting Leicester’s diverse legacy
This South Asian Heritage Month, Tiyanna Mistry explores community, resilience, and celebration in local south Asian communities.
Local audit crisis deepens after council bankruptcy warning
Urgent reforms are needed for local authority audits as Leicester City Council faces financial turmoil, risking bankruptcy.

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to Great Central Gazette.

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.