So, today sees the end of The Yam Yam.
After two years of hard work by editor Mark Blackstock, the only online daily news aggregate site for Walsall news finishes. He has explained his reasons and while the online community understands and sympathises, it acknowledges it will leave a yawning gap in the town.
I – and the growing number of readers who have been drawn to this unique site – will miss it and can only hope that some financial help can be sought to bring it back online.
Where else can you find such a variety of business, news, sport and comment about Walsall online? The beauty of The Yam Yam is that it pulls news about the borough from a variety of sources – local newspapers, BBC and a growing lobby of local bloggers, who pull no punches when it comes to voicing their opinions about the town and how it is run.
And who else who would give an innovative school class project such exposure?
The gap will be particularly noticeable for the local business community, for there is nowhere else they can go to read such a comprehensive round-up of Walsall business news. While local papers may ignore the stories about smaller companies or entrepreneurs, The Yam Yam offers a valuable service in giving them a voice.
As the town looks to regenerate over the next few years, it is so important we hear the voices of the SMEs, the creatives, the start-ups and those who not only have the entrepreneurial spirit to flourish, but want to succeed in Walsall.
(This includes the Winning Opportunities for Walsall (WOW) programme, funded through the Walsall Partnership, is helping SMEs thrive in the borough, bringing jobs here.)
Could Walsall’s business community look at saving this unique site? The Yam Yam is the perfect vehicle to tell us about the success stories and the perfect vehicle to challenge authority and question the decisions being made in our name, using our taxes.
So, as the Yam Yam prepares to power down, let’s hope that a solution can be found so that it can continue in some way. Such ventures will never (although, never say never) make a profit, but it could be sustainable.
Editorially, it has worked. Could it possible work as a business venture? Fingers crossed …