Why I need help
of the above is great - the web site has achieved my original
goal beyond any shadow of a doubt. The trouble is that,
although Wyenot.com is now being supported by advertisers
and that support is now growing rapidly, for years it was
not and I have all the personal money I put into maintaining
the site to catch up with.
you look at the list of supporters at the bottom of this
page there are 79 of them. Each one of those businesses
has paid £45 per per year for having a very successful
page on Wyenot and this year, that has brought in £3,555
towards the maintenance of Wyenot.com and Wyenot News.
£3,555, when it all comes in - some has not yet -
is the sum total of all 'takings' to help towards
every aspect of the maintenance of this web site!
sometimes seems to me as if, for some businesses, somebody
only has to fart in the office and the company will be given
a National Lottery grant to install an extractor fan. Wyenot.com
has never been that lucky. In six years, Wyenot.com has
never received a single penny by way of a grant from anywhere
the past six years, three kind local people have voluntarily
donated a total of £320 - without my asking - absolutely
voluntarily, asking nothing in return. The money was given
towards maintaining Wyenot, purely because these people
enjoy reading it. £300 of that money was donated this
year, bringing the total takings for Wyenot to £3,855.
top of that, I may have sold as much as £100 worth
of prints, maximum from the web site. This brings this years
takings up to £3,955 maximum.
is literally, all the money I have had in from every single
aspect of maintaining this whole web site this year, £3,955!
I do also have a separate income, from the newspapers for
use of my photography which appears in the Ross Gazette
and the Hereford Journal plus prints sold by the newspapers.
This brings my gross income figure for this year to £6,000
year I submitted a £7,000 loss on my tax return. This
year that loss will not be quite as big but nonetheless,
I will not be going out and buying a luxury yacht.
of the £3,955 income mentioned above, I have paid
renewal fees for the domain name, rented web space and paid
for bandwidth, for which which I have a constant battle
against thieves, most of them pulling my photographs from
my rented web space, using my bandwidth for use on their
personal pages of the 'myspace' and other similar web sites.
This is why I have recently made them downloadable - in
the hope that the bandwidth theft will stop.
people think I actually work for the Ross Gazette and that
I am being paid a salary by them. I am not - never have
done and never will. This web site has no connection whatsoever
with the Ross Gazette other than that the editor, Christine
and I are friends. I do not even have a contract with them
to take photographs. Although a high percentage of photographs
printed in that newspaper are taken by me, after travel
expenses - cost of equipment to take them, I probably make
about one or two pounds from each photo printed. And nothing
for the editorial supplied.
am not a wealthy photographer by any means. The newspaper
photography happened by accident on my part. It came about
through my taking photos, initially with a cheap and next
to useless camera for Wyenot.com which the papers started
asking for. I bought the good, expensive camera equipment
I have now, probably £5000 worth much later, to bring
in a little newspaper photography business but mainly for
the benefit of Wyenot. Photography is not my hobby, it is
a means to an end and in six years I have only taken a couple
of hundred personal photos with any of it.
huge outgoing (compared with takings) for me is petrol.
On average, I have been spending £50 per week just
travelling between various venues to take photos of events
and other news items. When you think that on the average
week, I make £70 or £80 from selling photos
to the Ross Gazette, that's a sizeable chunk of what I earn.
If one new advertiser came on board every week at the current
advertising rate, that would not even cover the cost of
my petrol outgoings.
on computer equipment to keep the web site going has been
vast! Just last Sunday, the main Wyenot News computer died
suddenly. In the old days, I would have built a new one
myself but with all the work I have on maintaining Wyenot
in its current state, I do not have the time to do that
so I had to buy a replacement, there and then That cost
me £600. A week prior to that, the clutch went on
my car, which I need to travel between photographs. That
cost £280 to put right. My camera flash unit recently
died suddenly. That cost me £300 to replace. The video
camera I use for Wyenot has just died suddenly, two days
ago. I cannot afford to replace that at the moment.
reality of keeping Wyenot going and why I need serious help,
would be financially better off if I shut Wyenot down and
did nothing. At least then I could claim benefit. In my
entire life I have only ever been able to claim unemployment
benefit once - for six months and as far as I know, I cannot
claim any low income benefits because I own a house which
I don't live in. The fact that the rest of my family live
there because I love them all and they rely on me providing
for them is irrelevant as far as the Government is concerned.
If I stopped maintaining Wyenot and then got a part time
job on minimum wage, I would be laughing. I would even get
holidays and perhaps weekends off.
have I not done that? Because too many people have come
to rely on my coverage of local events and news stories
both here and in the newspapers. Nobody else would spend
so much time doing it for so little in return!
top of all of the above you see, I have to live myself.
When I started planning the web site in May 2000, my personal
bank account was something like £13,000 in credit
because I had just left a well paid job, which I thought
was secure for life. After 30 years however it turned out
not to be. Something for which I am extremely thankful because
for the last 10 I absolutely hated it. It was like going
to prison daily. I love what I now do to replace it.
the six years of maintaining Wyenot and having to eat at
the same time, my personal bank accounts have gone from
£13,000 in credit to a total of £20,000 overdrawn
plus mortgage on the house I don't live in. Tina is working
14 hour shifts to contribute towards our living while I
keep the site going. I work, usually from 9:00 am until
midnight, every day of the week, 365 days per year (yes,
I even take photos of events on Christmas Day) to keep Wyenot.com
and Wyenot News going because I cannot afford to pay for
help and because believe it or believe it not, I still see
a bright future if I can just survive and keep it going
a little longer while support increases.
may have to increase the cost of advertising very soon but
many of those who use the service tell me that I don't charge
anywhere nearly enough anyway. The reason I made it so cheap
to advertise was for the benefit of Ross-on-Wye. I am well
aware that the pages on this site are worth much more than
the £45 currently charged but 'internet advertising'
was given a very bad name locally a year after I started
Wyenot by somebody else who was just out to make money without
providing the service people were paying for. This is why
I never go out selling myself door to door. I deliberately
wait for local people to discover Wyenot in the same way
that the rest of the world does - through its content and
having waited so long I am now at the absolute end of my
personal means of supporting the web site which is bringing
so much business to everybody else and need to worry very
seriously about supporting my own family. I could go to
the bank I suppose but that would only end up making matters
worse. The interest on the current overdraft is already
crippling and if I increased it . . .
two weeks time it will be Christmas but I am at the absolute
limit of my means. Both general living and keeping Wyenot
News afloat are making restful sleep a distant memory. Buying
food just to get by is currently a serious problem and Christmas
stuff is just way out of the equation. Last year I joked
about having Spam for Christmas lunch. This year, if it
was not for the fact that I can't stand the taste of it,
I probably would. Luckily I have very understanding children,
who are too old to believe in Father Christmas.
can I do to keep Wyenot Working for everybody?
just don't know. The answer certainly has not come to me
during the sleepless nights. I think I can say that I am
pretty good at singlehandedly designing, building and maintaining
the web site which has brought more business to Ross-on-Wye
than all the International Festivals and Local Tourism Committees
and Organizations put together and doubled. But at financing
it, I have proved to myself that I am worse than useless!
there anybody out there who can help financially in any
not, in the New Year I am afraid that I am going to seriously
think about looking for another job and regretfully stopping
maintaining Wyenot.com and supplying photos to the local
press. If it comes to this, I have already paid this years
web server rental so I will just leave the web site running
in its current state of update for a year, until the £45
received from the latest supporter expires, then I will
pull the plug entirely and write off the past six years
of my life to experience. I have no choice other than to
consider this option, to pay off the resulting overdraft
before I design St.Peter.com.
may come over as happy and cheerful about the web site when
I see you in person because I am not very good at visibly
showing emotion. In reality though, I am getting ill through
working 15 plus hours per day with no rest, seven days per
week, all year round. It's not the work that is killing
me - I am happy to do that, though I do often get very tired.
It is the constant personal financial worry while Tina and
I sustain the whole of Wyenot.com and our two families on
one and a half less than average incomes that l can no longer
is not a day goes by when somebody does not ask me for something
and it's always something for nothing. ''Can I have a copy
of that photo you took to publicize our charity? We can't
pay you but we will obviously credit you. . .' I have always
found it difficult saying, 'no' to anybody.
have never asked for financial help with this web site before
from anybody other than my parents, when Mum was alive but
now I feel I have no choice but to do that.
is my one final attempt to keep the wolf from the door and
keep Wyenot going! I am not greedy. If I were wealthy
enough, I would make every service on Wyenot available free
of charge for everybody but unfortunately, I am not.
Are you or your organization able to help in any way by
making a donation towards helping Wyenot.com and its future?
It does not matter how much. If just a small percentage
of all those who use this web site regularly were to contribute
a small amount, it would help hugely towards getting me
over this extremely tricky stage in the development of a
business, which in turn is boosting the local economy as
a whole. By helping you would be helping everybody, from
the small one man shop or pub to the big local supermarkets
know that it is not good business practice to announce how
much the person running that business is struggling. The
usual method of expanding is to act big, buy a posh car,
wear a business suit, go to the right church/golf club and
I am not like that. What you see is what you get with me.
A woolly hat, hoodie, clapped out old car and an admission
that I am currently up Shit Creek without a paddle... ...Oh!
And a damned good web site to prove it!
would of course mention anybody who helps, unless that is
not what they want and any business sponsorship would be
repaid by prominent advertising on relevant pages of Wyenot.com
or/and Wyenot News.
you for taking the time to read this plea for help! The
rest of this week's news can be seen on the following pages.
1, Hillview Road,
Email: alan_wood at wyenot.com (replace at with @ and close