THE future of a popular Wem magazine has been discussed by town councillors.

The magazine, known as the 'Wemian', is a quarterly magazine for people who live in and around the area of Wem.

It has been running for several decades but the current editors wish to step down. The magazine has typically been run as a physical copy but throughout the Covid-19 pandemic has been moved online.

With the editors wishing to step down Wem Town Council discussed the future of the magazine at their full council meeting, held virtually on Thursday, February 25.

Councillor Chris Mellings introduced the item, asking fellow councillors what their ideas were for the magazine.

"I think we're all aware for some time now the current editors want to step down form the roles," said Cllr Mellings. "It's gone online with no advertising but its got to the point where the editors need to stand down.

"I've had an email asking if I had any ideas, its' really to try and raise awareness with others and to pick brains to see if anyone is prepared to take up these roles.

"From the sounds of it they're planning to stay online.

"We all know how much the Wemian has been a feature of the community and it would be sad to see it go."

The council has recently recruited a new member of staff and Cllr Peter Broomhall suggested whether they could take on the role.

"When we have this new member of staff in I was wondering if this was a project she could take on," said Cllr Broomhall. "We don't have a magazine that goes around town so this would keep people in touch with what the council do and keep the Wemian going.

Council clerk Penny O'Hagan said she was 'uncomfortable' with the idea of having a council staff member taking on the role though.

"It’s a very different skill set from the description, id be very uncomfortable the purpose of the project officer is to help out the finances and take out some projects," said Ms O'Hagan. "It's not to say no definitely but I would be quite nervous about loading it onto a new member of staff."

Town Mayor, Cllr Phil Glover suggested merging with a similar Loppington-based magazine.

"What about linking it up with the Loppington one?" he said. "They use the same advertisers to the greatest extent, maybe they could join up together?

"St Peters Church magazine is about the only other one that goes out regularly."

Cllr Edward Towers meanwhile suggested involving Wem Civic Society with the project, putting it in the hands of a 'town manager'.

"This is a valuable town magazine," said Cllr Towers. "It is something we must seek to continue.

"An idea from the Civic Society was that we have some sort of town manager part-time coordinating what was going on in the town.

"Something that was central that was managed by someone and perhaps this could go onto their thing.

"We do need to make sure it goes round and gets regenerated."

One idea that was also put forward was to use students from Thomas Adams to run the magazine as part of their studies, although Cllr Roger Drummond was concerned that this may apply unnecessary extra pressure.

"I sympathise with that approach as it would give some practical experience of media studies but there is so much pressure on students they have to concentrate of their academic studies," said Cllr Drummond.

"I have sympathies with the town clerk – I don’t see it as a function that can be taken on by the town council."

Cllr Drummond suggested that the magazine could become the domain of the Wem Economic Forum, with advertising being a key aspect of the magazine.

"One of the values of the Wemian is not so much the articles but the information of the advertising," added Cllr Drummond.

"I wondered if there was any value in linking to the Wem Economic Forum."

Cllr Towers, who has involvement with the forum discussed the possibility.

"It's something worth considering by the forum," he said. "It’s a another angle of the work and it could be discussed by them.

"One of the values of the Wemian is its independence.

"I would certainly welcome someone from the Wemian on the Wem Economic Forum."