Commercial and Communications Director Ash Corbett-Collins fills us in on the 2020 Website of the Year award winners.

Branch websites play an important role as the first port of call for potential members, future volunteers, members of the public and journalists alike to learn more about CAMRA, both locally and nationally. They are a window on our activity – showcasing our past campaigning successes and encouraging people to join in future events.

The National Branch Website of the Year competition shines a spotlight on the very best websites that give full details of local branch activity, showcase campaigning activity, follow our branding guidelines, and encourage visitors to join CAMRA and get involved. It is no coincidence that those branches with effective websites often benefit from an increased number of volunteers and campaigning success.

I am delighted to announce that, for the second year running, the National Branch Website of the Year Gold Medal winner is South Hertfordshire branch (https://southherts.camra.org.uk/). Their website is built on an intuitive and visually striking platform, and is full of engaging content on local awards, pubs to visit and ways to get involved in campaigning. Any visitor to the website feels welcome and would clearly understand the role of CAMRA and the local branch in campaigning for real ale, cider and perry; and the pubs and clubs that serve them.

On receiving this year’s award, Tom Blakemore, the South Herts webmaster said, “The branch and I are very excited to have won a second year running! It’s a massive team effort writing the content and keeping it up to date so really great that it continues to be recognised.”

Regarding future plans for the website, Tom explained, “We have plans to continue expanding the tools we make available to members via the website’s members area. I’ve written WordPress plugins to handle things like the national CAMRA login, GBG and POTY nominations, proxy voting, etc. and would be happy to share those with other branches. I also plan to write another for pub surveys – it would read data from WhatPub, highlight the ones that haven’t been surveyed for a while, and provide a facility to submit updates or print a pre-filled form, etc.”

As we were unable to present the certificate in person at Members Weekend this year, the branch will shortly receive their 2020 award by post, as well as an updated Gold Medal graphic to use on their website. In the meantime, I would encourage webmasters and volunteers across the country to visit the South Herts website and see for themselves what makes it so fantastic. Hopefully there will be a few ideas they can use in their own branches.

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