Pits n Pots screen

Pits n Pots, which unveiled its new look today, was first launched in 2008

Pits n Pots, the first UK project to be backed by the new Journalism Foundation, relaunched its website today, with a print edition to be distributed to the local area next month.

The political news site, which first launched in 2008 and covers political news in Stoke-on-Trent, has been redesigned "in a bid to boost reader engagement, increase traffic and promote democratic engagement in the local community", according to an announcement by the foundation.

"The site has been redesigned to make it more user-friendly with a greater social media presence. The new site will be maximized for use across tablets, smartphones and other digital devices.

"It has enhanced commenting features which connect easily with social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, allowing users to share their conversations on important issues in Stoke with friends and colleagues."

The foundation also said it will work with Pits n Pots to produce a print edition of the site to be distributed in the area "to widen Pits n Pots's audience".

Journalism Foundation founder, and former editor of the Independent Simon Kelner said in an announcement: "We’re delighted to support the relaunch of Pits n Pots, a website which we feel fulfills an important function in the political life of Stoke-on-Trent.

"The redesigned site will, we hope, increase the reach and relevance of Pits n Pots to the people of the area. Websites such as this are proliferating throughout the country, helping to increase engagement in local politics and demonstrating that journalism is a fundamental part of democracy."

The foundation also published a "free toolkit" covering how to build a local website, featuring chapters from key journalism figures on topics such as "how to use social media", "what makes a local story" and "how to do good design".

Kelner launched the non-profit foundation in December last year, supported by the Lebedev family, owner of the Independent and Evening Standard.

Initially the foundation said it would run two initiatives, including a series of training courses aimed at Tunisian reporters and the Pits and Pots development.

At the time Mike Rawlins, part of the team behind Pits n Pots said the backing would enable him to "investigate ways for Pits n Pots to become a more sustainable public service business model", encourage greater engagement with democracy and "create a template that can be used by active democratically engaged people across the country".

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