A Reach-owned hyperlocal news service has exceeded one million registered users after seeing a rapid growth in users turning to news about their neighbourhood during the pandemic.
InYourArea is now the single largest brand in the Reach digital portfolio for a registered and engaged user base. Since March the service saw a 140 per cent increase in registered users signed up for email alerts and through its app, editor-in-chief Ed Walker told the SoE.
The news comes as this week InYourArea launched its first national-scale campaign Don’t Trash Our Future – calling on the government to get tough on litter following the build up of trash blighting parks and beauty spots over lockdown.
More than four million people explored InYourArea during the pandemic – using the platform’s service which collates trusted news sources and builds data widgets to inform local communities across the country.
Users input their postcode to receive the latest news (both of Reach and its rival publishers) along with a feed of information including traffic updates, property sales, nearby events and the weather.
Acting as a cross between a Facebook group and news hub, the growth of InYourArea as a trusted news platform comes opportunely while concerns about misinformation on social platforms have been rife throughout the pandemic.
Walker told the SoE, “During the pandemic InYourArea utilised publicly available coronavirus data to show users what was happening when they entered their postcode, partnered with givefood.org to let users discover what foodbanks nearby needed donating.”
He added that as lockdown was eased, InYourArea became a “key part of Reach’s #IAmOpen campaign to allow thousands of local businesses to list their reopening for free on the platform”.
Looking forward, the Don’t Trash Our Future in partnership with Clean Up Britain – whose patron is broadcaster Jeremy Paxman – will aim to use the growing audience base of InYourArea users to take action for a cleaner Britain.
Walker explained: “A petition, hosted on InYourArea, calls on users to show their support for increasing the fixed penalty notice for littering from £150 to £1,000.
“It comes after shameful scenes across parks, beaches and beauty spots both during and post-lockdown of litter trashing the UK – an issue which regularly gets opinion flowing from InYourArea users and those in comment sections across sister titles in the Reach portfolio.”
The campaign has seen backing from JB Gill, former JLS star turned farmer, presenter Clare Balding and her partner Alice Arnold as well as sports presenter Gabby Logan and her former international rugby playing husband Kenny Logan.
“More than 6,000 signatures have already been secured since launch on Tuesday morning and JB Gill is appearing on Good Morning Britain during Wednesday morning to speak further about the campaign,” Walker added.
Find out more about the campaign here.