The Joint Parish Magazine

Winsham, Thorncombe & Cricket St. Thomas
The Joint Parish Magazine- supporting the community.  

The background
The history of the Joint Parish Magazine is a long  and successful one. Although it became known officially by that name in 1999, in practice the three parishes of Thorncombe, Winsham and Cricket St. Thomas have been producing a joint magazine since shortly after the Rev. Leslie D. Harman was appointed vicar of all three parishes in 1982. Prior to that, for many years, church magazines had been produced by the individual parishes.

Under the influence of Rev. Harman, the three separate publications were integrated and produced each month on a duplicating machine , using stencils, and collated and stapled together by hand. This last part of the operation was presented as a monthly ‘social event’ but  regarded by some of the participants from the three parishes as a ‘bit of a chore’. As the vicar lived in Thorncombe, it was perhaps inevitable that the responsibility for doing this fell more heavily on the Dorset member of the triumvirate!

The magazine gradually became popular with readers not usually associated with church magazines and resulting from this, articles about other aspects of village life began to appear. As its content became more diverse, the number of pages grew, as did the number of copies required to meet demand. A small army of volunteers was formed throughout the three parishes to distribute the copies. The magazine developed into a unique cooperative exercise between the spiritual and secular!

To view the earliest known surviving copy of a Winsham parish magazine-December 1986- in the care of Anne Rose, Click HERE.

The cost of producing the magazine also grew, and this was supported by selling  advertisement space to local traders, another very time-consuming activity.

New millennium brings change.
As the new millennium  approached it was becoming clear that a fresh look needed to be taken as to how the magazine was organised and printed. These changes came about in 1999.

Instead of being a collection of A4 sheets produced on a duplicator and stapled together by hand, the ‘lay-out copy’ was handed to a commercial printer, who printed it, using the latest reprographic machinery, on A3 sheets folded and collated mechanically, and saddle stitched into its cover-the system still used. In the millennium year the cover was also changed, proclaiming its new name ’Joint Parish Magazine-Thorncombe, Winsham and Cricket St Thomas’.

The improvement in appearance was remarkable; it reflected a positive improvement without losing the ethos of a small, personal, and local journal retaining the appeal of being a ‘village’ production. It kept its A4 size. Even photographs could be reproduced-in colour when it could be afforded! The disbanding of the collating teams was met with joy! However, all this came at relatively high financial cost, which could not  be passed onto the current readers and advertisers without causing concern, and potentially reducing readership.

To help overcome this problem, it was decided to start a vigorous drive for new advertisers, which met with great success. The amount of advertising space successfully increased to eight pages, and then more.

 It is no surprise that the publication is valued for its advertising power. The magazine reaches nearly five hundred households each month, located in a small geographical area, difficult for  local firms to reach with other forms of advertising, and at reasonable cost.

A niche market, with an added benefit!  All the editorial work and the managing of advertising, then as now, is carried out by volunteers, as is the monthly distribution of copies. The only expenditure is the cost of printing and some exceedingly small out-of-pocket expenses on office consumables. The magazine has always been a  non-profit-making effort, so both readers and advertisers get exceptionally good value for money.

Then along came Covid-19…...!
In March 2020, the first lockdown to reduce the spread of the virus occurred, obliging the printer to stop working. However, the second spike in infections, which occurred at the end of the year, running into the start  2021, created a new problem. Although the Chard Digital Print who printed the magazine for many years could operate, the distribution teams were not allowed to, for fear of spreading the contagion.

Undeterred, in January 2021, Jenny Clampett, the Editor, arranged for distribution to be carried out from Thorncombe and Winsham village shops. Significantly, Jenny also arranged for the magazine to be read online via the Winsham Parish Web site, which could also be accessed through the Winsham E-letter, reaching some three hundred households in the Winsham Parish, on a weekly basis, and the Winsham Community News and Views Facebook page. This has now been discontinued

According to the recent Parish Survey, conducted by Winsham Parish Council, the Joint Parish Magazine remains the most popular communications vehicle, running just ahead of the weekly E-Letter, which works in conjunction with the Winsham Parish Web site. It's long copy date is a problem for short notice events. However, the Winsham  E-Letter and the Community Facebook page  cover this problem. Each of the Winsham media choices  has its adherents; each has its their own style of presentation. Each has its own type of content. Winsham is exceptional and fortunate in having such choice.

If you wish to submit an article for publication Click HERE to obtain all the information you need to know, including details of copy dates. Copyright must be owned by the person submitting the article or pictures.

If you wish to advertise Click HERE for detail of cost and reproduction requirements

If you wish to subscribe for a monthly printed copy of the Joint Parish Magazine, delivered to your door, Click HERE  (£5.00pa from January 2022)