Welcome to The Raikes Journal

Raikes is a digital magazine, a community interest company, dedicated to building community estanlished to try and keep alive in Gloucestershire engaging, original, quality, clickbait-free local journalism about the county, its businesses, charities, education & training and more. We are funded by our readers and treasured partners who make this possible - and delivering our stories to subscribers via email editions at least three times a week.

Andrew Merrell, editor of The Raikes Journal.

Subscribing is either free - everyone receives three email journals a week - or paid for.

If you upgrade to paid, you’ll be able to see past the paywalls on our second and third email editions of the week, that lock all our archive after two weeks and lock our rolling Top 100 Businesses in Gloucestershire series, and you’ll be able to comment on our stories. You’ll be helping make sustainable this community interest company, with its particular focus on businesses, charities and education and training providers. If you think those things are important, if you think how Gloucestershire is presented is important, and if you think journalism is important and you want it to remain the county, clickbait free - original well-written stories, not recycled press releases, or puff, able to challenge authority if needed, to hold people to account, that can tell your stories, that can stand up for your community - then please do support us.

More on membership

You can subscribe to Raikes for free. Just use your email address. Or you can become a paid-up member. We are currently offering membership at 33 per cent off as we seek to build our membership and settle our pricing - which currently works out at just £1.54 a week or £6.60 a month (that’s £80 a year)! If you have already subscribed, please do share news of what we are doing and encourage others to join you!


If you really like what we are trying to do for the county, and really believe in independent journalism for your community, you can go even further and become one of our treasured Founding Members, by pledging £250 or more (or more than our usual annual subscription of £120). As well as our gratitude you will be firmly on our radar - you’ll also get a short story and an annual subscription!

Think of paying for that subscription like crowdfunding or ‘paying it forward’. You are not just buying a service, you are making everything Raikes does possible and helping us achieve our ultimate goal - to help build a community website shaped by community.

Subscribers - free or otherwise - are crucial to Raikes becoming sustainable, but we already have 12,000-plus social media connections in Gloucestershire to help us along.

And you can see some of the comments we’re getting, embedded in this page we’re already having an impact.

So please do subscribe, tell your friends, and join us and our growing community of readers to get our original articles, news, views, expert insight pieces and learn even more about our incredible county - all delivered straight to your inbox.

Commercial opportunities

  • While everything we do is editorially-led (we do not run advertorials, like some ‘news’ websites) you can talk to us about subjects, themes, issues, profiles you may want use to cover as one-off articles or as part of a series in which you or your firm can be involved or placed centre stage. We can also run expert insight articles written by you or a member of your team, as well as comment pieces. And we are open to Saturday big read articles about any subject you wish to discuss - business or otherwise.

  • Sponsor our Reports & Deals channel, which hosts our Top 100 series (this is currently taken by Randall & Payne) or our Cyber channel.

  • Become a Founding Partner from £2,500. You basically become a shareholder in the operation for the duration of your partnership. This is about a relationship - a partnership with you. Everthing remains editorially-led, but we can use our resources to support you. The deal is to be discussed to suit you. For example, four feature/lead-length stories - each featured on a newsletter - plus four mini articles/or event preview/mini-biog with an image - each also featured on a newsletter edition with a link. Plus an introductory article. Partners are credited on almost every story we publish, with a link to their website. We think of our sponsors first for comment for our editorials and are open to their story ideas. They will also get a first-look at the opportunities for our planned magazine.

To find out more about some of the opportunities we mentioned above please email andrew.merrell@raikesjournal.co.uk.

The people behind The Raikes Journal

Andrew Merrell, editor of The Raikes Journal, working in the very building that Robert Raikes started publishing the Gloucester Journal on 9 April 1722.

The Raikes Journal was founded by me, long-standing Gloucestershire reporter Andrew Merrell, at the start of the UK’s Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

I’ve seen the local news that helped thread our communities together and told our stories, recorded our deeds and held our authorities to account, destroyed through a race to the bottom by big corporations and real journalism begin to drift from memory. That trend continues.

Raikes was born to remind people the part real journalism can play, as a place of calm and reason in the social-media swarm of soundbites and imagery, an alternative to the torrent of press releases passed off as news, articles about out-of-county celebrities and TV programmes, exaggerated weather stories and listicles. We won’t just point a phone camera at a story, let someone talk and call it reporting.

We will always lead on, and you will always read, stories that will not be found anywhere else (unless they are copied from us, of course!).

(We do value those many great press releases too and they inspire some of our best ideas, but we post the pick separately on Raikes in our PR Wire channel - so please do them them our way!).

As with that first iteration of Raikes (born to support Gloucestershire’s businesses, training, education and charity sectors through the pandemic), what you are now reading was made possible thanks to the generous backing of the Gloucestershire businesses who wanted a platform that supports their community and does it justice.

A master of one of our earliest forms of social media: Gloucester Town Crier, Alan Myatt, posing for Raikes for its launch in 2020. Check out the sign above his head.

Raikes posted its first story on 9 April 2020 as Gloucestershire and the UK became swamped by the pandemic. It was the same day its namesake, Robert Raikes, published the first ever Gloucester Journal newspaper (also 9 April - but in his case back in 1722 And he didn’t have a pandemic to contend with!).

The Raikes Journal was immediately taken to the hearts of many, and after its first four weeks it already had more than 7,200 individual visitors and a growing number subscribing to its newsletter.

I’ve covered Gloucestershire as a reporter for two decades-plus, beginning on the daily newspapers that once covered Gloucester, Cheltenham, Stroud, Newent, the Forest of Dean and the Cotswolds. I helped create, report on and edit some of the first ever email newsletters in the UK, the first business email newsletters, and covered on all aspects of life in the county, from births, deaths and marriages to agriculture, the foot-and-mouth crisis, crime, lifestyle to news, politics and skulduggery to major triumphs.

In Gloucestershire we have more than 2,500 county-based charities. Many need the help of businesses more than ever before, and not just financial support. The skills, experience and know-how within the ranks of companies is worth its weight in gold to charities and volunteering groups and is key to helping these often small, resource-poor organisations become resilient and sustainable.

And we know businesses are increasingly conscious of their importance to their communities. They know they can be incredible forces for good - if only they can make those connections. Raikes exists to help make that happen by introducing everyone through its stories and weekly journals.

Our journals will also recommend local events, keep you up to date with what’s happening in Gloucestershire as well as report on, investigate, and tell the many stories about businesses, the business community, charities, colleges, universities training providers, apprenticeships, crucial county news and feature the pick of social media posts we spot. We are in no rush to be first to publish because we put quality first.

Raikes is about finding and sharing those incredible stories all of us carry. Which is also our way of asking you to whisper those ideas in our ear please!

Why the name 'Raikes'?

The short answer, is ‘we had to call it something’!

But we wanted a name that was embedded in Gloucestershire and recognised our own deep-rooted connections. Raikes is a reference to Robert Raikes (both of them - senior and junior).

Before everyone gets even more confused, the father and son were famous residents of Gloucester. In 1722 Raikes senior founded and ran what became The Gloucester Journal newspaper (from where we took the ‘Journal’ name of our own title).

Raikes very possibly invented the phrase ‘freedom of the press’ and certainly helped lay down some of the key tenets of journalism as his newspaper sought to report on the issues around business and how democracy worked (or didn’t) at the time.

A statue of Robert Raikes, by the sculptor Thomas Brock, in Gloucester Park. The statue was described as"as good as anything of the kind we possess in England". A cast of the same also stands in Victoria Embankment Gardens, London, and Toronto, Canada.

Mr Raikes was a major supporter of the Sunday School movement that helped educate the children of the working people for whom school was not even a dream. Some say it is this ability to read and write, and the good journalism they read afterwards that educated them about their county, that helped spark a social revolution ongoing to this day.

Oh, and we also liked this idea… that the word ‘Raikes’ is apparently old English for ‘people who live on the sides of hills and valleys of these isles’. Remind you of anyone? Our apologies to the residents of Severn Vale who might feel somewhat overlooked, in more ways than one! You are not.

Get in touch

Email andrew.merrell@raikesjournal.co.uk. No matter what your story is, we will handle it with care and the utmost discretion. Our aim is to champion Gloucestershire, but if a story is worth telling.... we will take it on.

Help us to correct our mistakes: If you have a complaint about something we have published, please follow our complaints procedure.

The Raikes Journal name is trademarked and owned by us.

* Everything you read on The Raikes Journal is made possible by our incredible Founding Partners: QuoLux, Willans LLP, Gloucestershire College, Merrell People and Randall & Payne, our sponsors Hartpury University and Hartpury College, our Founding Members and wonderful paying subscribers.

Subscribe to The Raikes Journal

Raikes is a digital magazine, a community interest company dedicated to building community with engaging, original, quality journalism about Gloucestershire, its businesses, charities, education & training and more, funded by our readers and partners.


Andrew Merrell is a journalist specialising in business, but writing about anything interesting, who lives in Gloucestershire. andrew.merrell@raikesjournal.co.uk. 07956 926061.