A new chapter for the Slough and Windsor Express

From Friday, July 1, Baylis Community Media CIC takes over as publisher of the Slough and Windsor Express. Editor James Preston explains more about the change.

The Slough and Windsor Express has a proud history – dating back more than 200 years – of providing trusted local news to the communities it serves.

It has always had an important part to play in keeping residents informed, holding power to account, and bringing communities together as news coverage has evolved over the past two centuries.

And, in 2008, the Express became part of a unique publishing company which has helped set it apart from other local newspapers and seen it contribute to an extraordinary legacy for the communities it serves.

In 1962, Maidenhead 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 newspaper had the interests of its readers at its heart – rather than shareholder dividends.

In 2008, the Slough and Windsor Express became the Advertiser’s sister news titles when they were taken over by its publisher, Baylis Media Ltd – ensuring the Express would continue Louis Baylis’ ethos in Slough, Windsor and the surrounding areas.

When Louis Baylis created the trust, he also made sure it 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 towns and villages, bring people together, build hospices, ensure the survival of charities and support people in times of need.

Since 2008, Express profits have directly contributed to this grant programme, helping charities and good causes across East Berkshire and South Bucks.

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 Slough and Windsor Express, and the Maidenhead Advertiser.

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 to protect the newspapers’ independence.

Only a handful of UK local newspapers are truly independent, with the majority being part of large national or worldwide conglomerates. The Express 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 Express 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 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.

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