Alex Lloyd looks at how the Evening Press has campaigned to make life better for their readers

THE Evening Press prides itself on not only writing about the local community but also making a difference to people's lives through campaigns and initiatives.

Over the last year, we have campaigned to Save York City, cut the winter crime rate with Operation Ratcatcher, and Close the Gaps on the A64 at the notori-ous Bilbrough Top.

And that's just a selection.

In December, a nine month campaign by assistant news editor Adam Nichols to free disabled overseas aid worker Ian Stillman from an Indian jail proved suc-cessful.

The campaign began after Indian authorities refused to accept that Ian was deaf and denied him a sign language translator at his trial.

A leading human rights lawyer called it one of the worst miscarriages of justice he has ever seen.

More than 5,400 Evening Press readers signed a petition which was handed to the Government and direct intervention by Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, saw Ian spend Christmas with his parents in England after two years in jail.

Current campaign Eat Local is a deter-mined drive to tell people about the very best food our region can produce.

The Evening Press, in association with the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, is highlighting the breadth and depth of excellence on offer in North and East Yorkshire.

A prestigious competition will honour our champions, with the ultimate winner being announced at this year's Great Yorkshire Show.

Last year we launched The Write Stuff, a competition for aspiring local reporters to win a job with the Evening Press.

After a rigorous selection process, our winner was Alex Lloyd, 21, who under-took a 20-week training course at Darlington College and is now back in the newsroom.

Due to its success, the competition has been re-launched and the deadline for this year's entries is May 31.

Local Matters ...

Research Shows That Life In The UK Is Local:

*Why do 84 per cent of UK adults read a regional or local newspaper? The answers can be found in a piece of research which shows that life is still lived very locally;*People in the UK today live the great majority of their lives - working, school, shopping, leisure and entertainment - within a 14-mile radius;*Over half of us live within a 30-minute drive of our birthplace;*90 per cent of homeowners will move within a ten-mile radius;*Over 50 per cent of people have lived in their present home for over ten years;*Almost two-thirds of the British adult population still live within an hour's journey of their mother and almost a third of us live less than 15 minutes away

The need for involvement in the local neighbourhood or community has actually grown stronger over the years:

*In 1980, 45 per cent of the population felt a strong or moderate need to be part of their local community compared to 48 per cent today;*Only 13 per cent now disagree with the statement "I feel part of my local com-munity."

As a result people are strongly attached to their regional media and in particular their local newspapers:

*Local and regional newspapers outscore all other channels by three to one when it comes to "understanding my lifestyle";*Local newspapers are the most trusted of all media;*Two-thirds feel that the local paper plays a vital role in fighting for the inter-ests of the local community, and almost four out of ten would miss their local pa-per if they moved away