The Virtual Lancaster website project was founded by Chris Satori in 1999 with a site designed by Paul Ely and has run continuously since. It started life as 'Lancaster-UK-Online'. With the collaboration of John Freeman, who had previously edited local events freesheet 'On the Beat', and who had also begun a similar online project, the name was changed to 'Virtual-Lancaster' a couple of years later. More recently, Andrew Baxter started working on a new version of the site, using the Drupal content management system to build a modern database driven website with a cleaner look and feel and a single login for all sections of the site. This new, interactive site was launched on 23 February 2017.
VL is independent of large media corporations or other bodies. It is wholly owned and operated on a shoestring by unpaid volunteer community members, with a mix of political views (and none). It is a loose organisation whose members rarely all meet in person (usually at Xmas). Mostly due to time limitations, we tend to work independently, making up our jobs and consulting with each other by email or phone about new developments or changes as we go along.
Our aim is to develop a locally-based Internet Site which will:
- Be useful
- Encourage and support local talent and initiatives and the development of an online community.
- Reflect and respond to the diverse interests and needs of local people.
- Provide an essential guide to the area for visitors, potential visitors and newcomers, or those just wanting more info.
- Promote Lancaster & Morecambe (UK) accurately to the world, to stimulate interest and opportunities and new possibilities that benefit all. We are unique.
Our immediate objectives are:
- To create a functional and informative guide to the area, with both the local community and visitors in mind.
- To create a user-friendly PORTAL SITE for the area, with links to other relevant and useful local sites/resources.
- To provide a free and independent platform to represent the genuine interests of local people.
- To provide free space for the posting of notices and 'classified ads' of interest to site users.
- To create and maintain comprehensive listings of forthcoming events, venues, entertainment and attractions, local groups and organisations, institutions, businesses and services in the area.
- To provide a virtual gallery to showcase the work and celebrate the creativity of local people.
There is always more that can be done. We will continue to work toward these aims and objectives to keep bringing you the definitive guide and online resource for Lancaster & Morecambe (UK) and the surrounding area.
Thank you for your interest.
Writing & Contributing
Please contribute your news, reviews & events to the Virtual-Lancaster website. Regular contributers can have their login permissions upgraded so that they can publish directly on Virtual-Lancaster without needing to wait for moderation.
We always need people to write reviews of local arts events. Most local arts venues will provide free tickets to accredited VL reviewers by prior arrangement.
Behind the Scenes
We always need volunteers to help behind the scenes, such as with:
- Moderating and editing submitted content
- SEO stuff
- Drupal site configuration
- Short-term projects, such as one-off technical jobs, research on a particular issue or checking a section of listings for their up-to-dateness.
- Research for stories and features
- Improvements you'd like to bring in
- Ideas for monetisation / sustainability in keeping with a community website ethos
If you think you can help in any of these areas, and would like to find out more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, although the site is maintained by unpaid volunteers and receives no grants or funding (it's an independence thing), it still costs money to run. You can help with this by making a donation to our PayPal account.