This page is about the site itself. To read our intro to the Bitterne Park area, click here
bitternepark.info is an independent, 'hyperlocal' community site for Bitterne Park, Southampton, and nearby areas.
It grew from an enthusiasm for the area, a desire to learn more about it and to promote a 'sense of place', and an interest in how certain software, and 'community news', could be brought together to create something online similar to what used to be known as a 'community newspaper'.
Set up in 2005, we didn't realise it at the time but it was probably one of the first hyperlocal sites in the UK. We now attract thousands of readers every month from Bitterne Park and nearby areas - as well as from further afield; unlike literature that's pushed through letterboxes, our readers choose to visit our sites, generally read several pages during each visit, and generally return over the course of a month.
We now serve up tens of thousands of pages every month, and it seems to be growing all the time.
And growing readership for 'hyperlocal' sites (a term loathed by some and somewhat hard to define) is reflected nationally: a recent OFCOM report suggested one in seven use community websites monthly; there's even a trend for academic research into the 'hyperlocal website landscape' (our rates for participating in research are very reasonable!), and hyperlocal sites are increasingly coming together through national initiatives like the Hyperlocal Alliance.
bitternepark.info is independent of any political party or group, is not formally connected with the local authority, and our only income comes from advertising and related activities – for example when you buy products via some of the ads on the site we get a small commission – and from a few kind individuals who choose to 'subscribe' or support us in other ways.
We've covered a diverse range of issues since we started: from trying to keep tabs on the airport's expansion, to covering the various attempts to close or cut back our local library; and from local history pieces - including a popular series of audio interviews about the area in times gone by - to crime reports, fundraisers, gigs, appeals, comings and goings at The Triangle and coverage of interesting city-wide events and issues... and so it goes on.
While we're always limited in what we can do, we do do our best to in some way reflect life in the area.
Bitterne Park Broadcasting!
As well as news, what's on information and local history, we from time to time feature audio taken from the local area (it can be a great way to give different voices an audience and publish information fast), and in Febrary 2012 we even branched out into 'broadcasting', with the transmission of a live radio programme - or web/podcast - which featured local music and poetry. It was streamed live over the internet, and listeners interacted via social media. You can hear the programme again here, as well as our follow-up programme in May, featuring an ambitious line up of three local bands and poetry, here.
We're hoping to repeat the exercise during 2013.
bitternepark.info was shortlisted for Best Local Area Website in Hampshire County Council's 'Hantsweb Awards' in 2008/09.
And in 09/10 we were pleased to be runner up for the Hantsweb 'Best Pride of Place' website.
In February 2008, Alan Whitehead, MP for Southampton Test, launched our sister site - portswood.info - covering Portswood, Highfield and nearby areas.
What you can do on the site
As well as being a 'consumer' of our offering, you can contribute ideas for stories, comment on articles (use the comment form under each), advertise, place a small ad & list your organisation or business on the Noticeboard (pictured is an example Featured Listing - ideal for promoting your business) or suggest an event for the calendar. Please register to use most site features - it's free, and quite painless!
You can also subscribe to our RSS news feed, 'like' us on Facebook to have stories and more appear on your 'wall', and follow us on Twitter; you'll find links to all of these on the right hand side, midway down the front page.
How you can support us
We're always happy to receive offers of help, whether it's delivering a few leaflets in your road or displaying them in your business, linking to our site from yours, writing a story, editing material we already have, compiling listings... and so the list goes on.
If you run a business please consider supporting us and promoting your business by advertising on the site. Prices are modest, and there's no hard sell!
It also helps if you can support local advertisers and mention us to them.
You can also support us by taking out a voluntary 'subscription' or by making a donation: Click here to find out how to do this, and how it helps.
What do you think of it so far?
We hope you find the site useful, make it a regular haunt, and tell your friends about it. Perhaps you will even feel moved to participate in its development in some way? If you can help, do get in touch.
At any rate we'd be very pleased to hear what you think of it so far!
Thanks for visiting, and see you again soon!