05:15PM, Thursday 30 June 2022
For the past 60 years, the Maidenhead Advertiser has had a unique role in its community that has set it apart from other local newspapers and created an extraordinary legacy.
In 1962, Advertiser proprietor Louis Baylis created the Louis Baylis (Maidenhead Advertiser) Charitable Trust to safeguard the future of the paper and ensure it gave back to the community in every way it could.
It enshrined an ethos of fierce independence and community-focused, trusted journalism that made sure the Advertiser had the interests of its readers at its heart – rather than shareholder dividends.
And, of course, it meant the trust could give back to those in need through a grant programme that has supported hundreds of local charities and organisations over the years.
Since its inception, the trust has given more than £6million to good causes – creating a legacy which has helped improve the town, bring people together, build hospices, ensure the survival of charities and support people in the times when they need it most.
Now, it is time for a new chapter – but the story is far from over.
From Friday, July 1, a new company, Baylis Community Media CIC, will take over as publisher of both the Advertiser and its sister titles, the Slough and Windsor Express.
This means the publisher will operate separately from the trust, which will still own the newspapers, in a licence agreement that ensures both organisations can continue Louis Baylis’ mission – allowing the trust to freely continue to distribute grants and maintaining the newspapers’ commitment to quality, community-minded independent journalism.
For readers, very little will change.
Baylis Community Media CIC is made up of exactly the same team as current publisher, Baylis Media Ltd – from senior management to reporters – and our editorial policy remains unchanged. Readers will still get the news coverage they’ve come to expect when they pick up a paper each week or log on to our websites.
Crucially, this new agreement and company helps protect the Advertiser’s independence.
Only a handful of UK local newspapers are truly independent, with the majority being part of large national or worldwide conglomerates. The Advertiser is different – serving readers, not shareholders.
Baylis Community Media CIC profits will go back into the company, helping to protect the future of our journalism and independence, and helping to ensure the Advertiser can continue to serve its community for many years to come.
Meanwhile, the Louis Baylis Trust will continue to carry out its incredible work in the community, distributing tens-of-thousands-of-pounds in grants each year.
Many years of donations from Baylis Media Ltd’s profits and wise investment have left the trust in a strong financial position, meaning it no longer has to rely on income from its newspapers to continue carrying out Louis Baylis’ mission.
The new agreement will only serve to help strengthen and protect its position, ensuring it can freely operate as a community-focused trust long into the future.
So, when you pick up a paper or log on to the website next week, the company behind it will be different but readers can be reassured that not much else will change. The publisher will still be independent and focused on trusted local journalism, while the Louis Baylis Trust will carry on distributing grants throughout the community.
Louis Baylis’ legacy will continue.
The UK has voted to leave the European Union in yesterday's referendum - and while the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead fell into the remain camp, Slough voted to support a Brexit.