Winsham E-letter
The first Winsham E-letter appeared in October 2006 and since then it has been sent to subscribers, free of charge, usually once a week. Initially some twenty five households were on the mailing list. This has now grown to some three hundred, and quietly increases as new people move into the village .It also enables past residents of the Parish, and those with family links to keep in touch with what is happening. Some, of course do end their subscription to the e-mail version.
The main purpose of the  E-letter is to promote activities in the parish by sending a very brief and transitory communication, which can be  read and then discarded, the reader noting the items that are of interest . It  lists in three columns, the name and location of the event, date  and very brief additional information that might be considered necessary.
When more detailed information about an event is available , this information is placed on the Parish Web Site or the new Parish Council web site and a hyperlink is added to the E-letter, so that a mouse-click on the link in the E-letter provides instant access  to this detail. This useful facility ensures that the e-letter always remains brief.


A popular feature of the E-letter is the 'village' photograph-different each time, with a short caption. These are usually of an event that has happened since the previous edition. This 'show-casing' of an event often links to more pictures from that  event very quickly after they have taken place, sometimes within hours, on the Parish Web Site. Increasingly, these pictures are provided by readers.
The Winsham E-Letter compliments the Joint Parish Magazine, and does not compete with it. A recognised problem with the Joint Parish Magazine in publicising certain types of events or news, is the relatively long copy date of up to three weeks, that is necessary for it's production. In contrast, the E-letter can be produced and sent out in less than one hour.
This underlines another use for the E- letter. Sometimes information needs to be distributed quickly-information about a lost pet, for example. On another occasion there was a  pollution scare relating to the mains water supply. Occasionally it is used to inform the parish of an untimely death. In these cases a 'special edition ' is distributed, usually in the form of a simple e-mail, with no other topic covered.
An important secondary purpose of the e- letter is to encourage subscribers to visit the Winsham Parish Web site and the Winsham Web Museum. In this it has been very successful.

The e-letter also carries  links to emergency services, and also announces when Minutes of meetings from some village organisations are available on the Parish or Parish Council Web Site, i.e. latest Parish Council  and Jubilee Hall Management Committee meetings.
Recent changes and development.
The growth in the village of the influence of the Social Media is considerable. One benefit of this is that news can get out to the community even more quickly than the weekly e-letter can achieve.
The e-letter which is sent to a subscription list of some three hundred hundred each week can also now be viewed from a link from the Home Page of the Parish Web Site, or from the Winsham Community Facebook page, as a .pdf file. The e-letter also provides conspicuous links via appropriate logos  to the Winsham Parish Council Web site, the Community Facebook page and to Winsham Web Museum
A further recent trend is the use of the accompanying editorial message  used to provide additional information on a subject not dealt with on a web page, or that is not suitable for the three column format of the e-letter itself. It is often of a topical nature, and is proving to be a popular development.
 In October 2017, the 500th edition of the e-letter was published.
J.S.S-January 2018

Amazingly, the Winsham E-Letter has now been running continuously since 2006, and later this year should reach its 700 edition. It has evolved steadily, mainly the result of the explosion in Wi-Fi , cell net and broadband systems in terms of speed of transmission of large quantities of data, and the ability of all these to connect with mobile phones and the range of apps available to them.
Facebook, Twitter and a vast array of other 'social media' vehicles are an important part of this phase of the digital revolution. Unfortunately each addition to the range of choice tends to fragment the market for users, and all, because of their relatively small screens, operate at their best with short messages, and small pictures. Although very popular with the young, who often display incredible expertise in maximising these facilities, older users often prefer bigger screens offered by Tablets, lap-tops and PC Monitors. This I feel sure explains the ongoing popularity of the e-letter, with its many links to Winsham Parish Web site and Winsham Web Museum. The circulation list of the e-letter has remained stable at about three hundred for some time; no especial efforts have been made to extend this as it is close to the number of households in the parish. New comers to the parish are invited to request a subscription (which costs nothing). In addition to receiving a copy by e-mail, the current e-letter can also be read direct from a link on the Community Facebook page, a facility that seems to be popular with some, but numbers are difficult to establish.
The value of the e-letter and its links to the Parish Web site and links to many other organisations was demonstrated  during the Covid pandemic years of 2020 and 2021 when communication with the parish at large , especially those households in 'shut-down' mode, by the parish council and other village organisations, such as Winsham Shop, were especially difficult. The Winsham E-Letter was guaranteed to be free from the risk of contagion! It also carried links to the Parish Council 'Zoom' meetings
One important change came about during the last five years. We are back to producing the e-letter in .pdf form as an attachment to the carrier e-mail. It proved to be the only satisfactory way of providing reliable access to the the increasing volumes of information being published. Future developments in web technology may change this in the future.
J.S.S - July 2022

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