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From coffee mornings to hyperlocal website

How a local Anglophone website developed from a series of monthly meetings at a cafe

An association that began as a series of coffee mornings had the idea to create a website to keep people informed of events and useful information in the local area covering part of the Hautes-Pyrénées and the Gers.

It is called Café Matin, and it has a weekly newsletter written by Tony Pateman: “I decided to get involved after my wife and I moved here permanently seven years ago. After we managed to sell a great deal of furniture on the site in a very short period of time, we were so grateful we felt it was our moral obligation to do more to help. My wife, Carol, is the President and Len Boxall and his wife Meg are treasurer and secretary respectively and we have about 350 members, mostly British but not exclusively."

There is a coffee morning in the Café du Centre on the first Tuesday of each month - which is also market day in Maubourguet. It is helpful for new people moving into the area putting people in touch with each other and with services they might need, as well as a general informal meeting point.

The association also organises outings and has a popular Hog Roast every summer and a Christmas lunch in the winter. In addition there is the website, where as well as the newsletter there is a host of other information including classified adverts, upcoming local events and animal care/adoption.

“I am very pleased that over 80% of our membership read the newsletter every week,” said Mr Pateman. “It is useful for people to find out what is happening. We publish articles about current issues, for example Brexit where we try to represent both sides of the story. The membership is made up of people coming mainly from an area about 50km around Maubourguet.

"It is a system which works well and we are encouraged that we have a growing membership as people move into the area.”

The annual subscription for the association is €10 or €15 for recommended businesses with links from their website to the company’s own external sites. To join and receive the newsletter, contact info@cafe-matin.fr

The website is www.cafe-matin.fr

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