Michael Sheen Backs Making a Difference

Hollywood actor Michael Sheen has written an article for this year’s Local Newspaper Week highlighting the importance of campaigning local newspapers and the difference they can make for their communities.

The Welsh actor and director, who is also a noted campaigner, writes: “Whether it is campaigning to keep a museum open, calling for more funds for the local hospital, or pushing for greater transparency in local government, local papers can make a real difference.”

The article is available for local newspapers to download and use during the Week which this year runs from 11 to 17 May and is themed Making a Difference, highlighting the invaluable campaigning work done by local papers up and down the UK.

Powerful local newspaper campaigns from the past year are highlighted on the relaunched Week website with an online vote enabling the public to vote for their favourite campaign set to go live on 11 May.

Among this year’s Making a Difference campaigns, taken from entrants to the campaign of the year category at the Society of Editors Regional Press Awards, are the Manchester Evening News’ drive to raise funds for a local dogs home damaged by fire which brought in more than £1 million in less than 24 hours.

The Evening Gazette in Colchester’s successful push to raise £100,000 to pay for a purpose-built playground for severely disabled children is also in the shortlist as is the Sunday Life’s hard-hitting expose of the cruel practise of puppy farming in Ulster which has resulted in several investigations.

The Derby Telegraph’s campaign to promote ways of saving lives resulted  in the number of people willing to donate their organs after death in Derbyshire increasing by more than 15,000, and in 17 months more than 600 people had signed up for discounted first-aid classes.

The Cambs Times successful bid to save playfields from being built on by the local council is in the shortlist as is the Bath Chronicle’s campaign for funds for a local girl who had her limbs amputated after contracting meningitis, and to raise awareness of the need for a vaccine to be made available through the NHS.

There will also be running a Thunderclap during the Week which newspapers can sign up to show their support for Making a Difference.

The winner will be announced at the Society of Editors Regional Press Awards on 15 May.