Welcome to The Raikes Journal

Raikes is a quality digital magazine for Gloucestershire supporting the county - in particular its business, charity, education and training sectors (and more!). It is a community interest company (CIC) dedicated to building community, to creating a sense of place and pride through local journalism - and delivering those stories to its subscribers via email editions 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 (see below for all the detail). Only paid-for subscribers have access beyond the paywall we usually place on the main stories on our second and third editions of the week. Those members also enjoy other benefits too, including being able to comment on all our stories and help influence Raikes’ direction of travel (what we write about).

Ultimately we need as many people as possible to sign up to continue to make our mission sustainable, 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.

We’ve outlined more ways you can get involved commercially below. To get in touch email andrew.merrell@raikesjournal.co.uk.

More on membership

You can subscribe to Raikes for free. Just use your email address. Or you can become a paid-up member for just £2.30 a week, which helps make what we do possible. That’s just 33 pence a day to support and celebrate your community (£12.50 a month or £120 a year). Groups of two or more who sign up get a 20 per cent discount on an annual subscription too.

Get 20% off forever

And if you like the idea so much you can go even further and become a ‘founding member’, which is where you invest more than £120 a year (see our subscriptions page). Founding members who pledge £250 or more will have a short article (150 words max) written about them, their business, or maybe an event they are staging/an achievement/a fundraising push, and we’ll run it with a picture (to be supplied) for a week on our three editions. So you 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 that very community to promote 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.

As well as access to the main articles on two extra email editions a week members can comment on our stories and influence our direction of travel. They can see beyond the paywalls we put on other copy too, which means they can also get sight of our Raikes’ rolling Top 100 Businesses in Gloucestershire, our ever-updating series following the fortunes of the county’s biggest 100-plus firms by turnover.

The Raikes Journal name is trademarked and owned by us.

Commercial opportunities

  • Editorial on one of our email journals: 100 words only (no image) plus a link - £75. 

  • Editorial on one of our email journals: 100/150 words of copy and an image (to be supplied) on one of our newsletters plus a link - £150 for one feature, £250 to run it on all three newsletters in a week, or £300 to be featured once a week for a month (four times).

  • One story - editorially-led feature/profile/interview (approx 750-1,000 words) published on one of our journals and social media - £475.

  • One story (approx 750-1,000 words) with a picture taken by one of our professional photographers published on one of our journals and social media - £600.

  • A series of stories - two stories (approx 750-1,000 words) published on one of our journals and social media, without professional photography, is £875; for three it’s £1,275; for four it is £1,650.

  • A series of stories - two stories (approx 750-1,000 words) published on one of our journals and social media, with professional photography, is £1,000; for three it’s £1,400; for four it is £1,800.

  • One Expert Insight story (to be supplied), with an image of the author (to be supplied) to run in the Expert Insight page, with contact details and a link, and be introduced by a short article on one or our editions, £275/two articles £500/three articles £725/four articles £825.

  • Sponsor our Reports & Deals channel, home of the rolling Top 100 Businesses in Gloucestershire series following the county’s biggest firms by turnover. We’ll mention your business at the top of the channel and on every single story - £1,500. This is currently taken by Randall & Payne.

  • Sponsor our Cyber channel. We’ll mention your business at the top of the channel and on every single story - £1,200.

  • Become a Founding Partner from £2,500. Deal 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 in a paragraph currently top and tail almost every story we publish. We will think of you first for comment for our editorials and be open to your story ideas. You 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.

It was made possible thanks to the generous backing of Gloucestershire businesses and its aim was simple - to support all Gloucestershire businesses and the county’s training, education and charity sectors as they battled through the unprecedented challenges of those times.

Raikes posted its first story on 9 April 2020 as Gloucestershire and the UK was 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.

As a journalist I had already covered Gloucestershire for two decades by then, beginning on the daily newspapers that once covered Gloucester, Cheltenham, Stroud, Newent, the Forest of Dean and the Cotswolds. I had helped create, report on and edit the first ever business news websites for the UK, the first business email newsletters and reported on all aspects of life in the county, from agriculture to crime, from lifestyle to news, from births to deaths, politics and skulduggery. But it was business and its community, those who dedicate themselves to training and education and the deeds of the charity and volunteering sector, that had me most enthralled and inspired. And it remains so.

What’s it all about?

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.

With traditional local media decimated in recent years, we believe a credible digital platform built on quality journalism has become vital if Gloucestershire is to be represented as everyone would really like it to be, in a way that helps all of us better understand our county, aware of and able to share in celebrating its achievements, its personalities and stories. The right platform will help to create that sense of place, of pride, of community and of belonging and help bring us all together.

We are lucky once again to have partners who feel the same and want to help us make Raikes happen so we can achieve that. And we will unashamedly champion them as we go.

We won't just point a phone camera at a story, let someone talk and call it reporting, or post a press release and claim it is an exclusive (although we do value those releases, and post the pick separately on Raikes in our PR Wire channel. Please do them them our way!). 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!!!).

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

If you have a story that you think we should tell, please do get in touch by emailing 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.

* Everything you read on Raikes is made possible by the generous support of our partners - who we will be revealing over the coming weeks - our founding members and our paid-up subscribers. A massive ‘thank you’ to all our other subscribers too. The support of all of you is invaluable! To get in touch email andrew.merrell@raikesjournal.co.uk.

Subscribe to The Raikes Journal

Raikes is a quality digital magazine for Gloucestershire, a community interest company dedicated to building community with engaging, original journalism about 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.