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Blandford Forum

Blandford Forum, Dorset

It starts in the Forum Café in Blandford, which is a small market town in north Dorset (that’s in south-west England if you’re not from these parts). Jill, who owns the place, used to be an artist’s model and her husband makes furniture; local artwork all over the walls, a rack of free newspapers, good coffee and carrot cake to die for. You get the picture.
 
So there we are, feeding our waistlines and talking about how unfair it is that artists get so much free publicity. Jill says people buy paintings now and then, but the main thing is, anyone can look for nothing.
 
What do writers get? A mountain of rejection slips.
 
But then one of us – Ned maintains it was Chris, Chris claims it was me but I’m sure my mouth was full at the time – says…
 
“Why not?”

 
The Broadsheets began in July 2009 with a single outlet, The Forum Café. Two more venues were added later in the year: Oliver’s Coffee House in Sherborne and The Town Mill Bakery in Dorchester. Fisherton Mill in Salisbury joined us in August 2010 and Turnbulls of Shaftesbury in October. In the same month came our first venue outside the south-west: The Martello Bookshop in Rye, East Sussex. We are always looking for new locations – get in touch if you are interested.
 
At the beginning of every month each venue receives 100 copies of a new Broadsheet. They are left out with the newspapers – customers can take them away if they wish but most read them over coffee and leave them on the table when they go. When they get grubby they are thrown away.
 
Each outlet starts at the beginning of the Broadsheet sequence. A new story will appear at The Forum first, then at Oliver’s about three months later, and so on. By the time it reaches the last outlet it will have been read by up to 1,000 people.

Oliver's Coffee House

Oliver's Coffee House, Cheap Street, Sherborne, Dorset

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