Scotland politics

Bella Caledonia website facing closure due to funding issues

Screen grab of Bella Caledonian website

A pro-independence media website is facing closure due to a lack of funds.

Bella Caledonia was set up in 2007, providing a platform for a varied range of writers and bloggers producing political and cultural content.

It became an important voice during the Scottish independence referendum campaign.

Its editor Mike Small is stepping down. He told BBC Scotland the site needed £50,000 in order to survive. An urgent fundraising appeal has been launched.

Mr Small set up the online magazine along with fellow socialist writer and publisher Kevin Williamson.

It was named after a character from Alasdair Gray's novel Poor Things. Gray later provided the site with a new version of his artwork.

'Urgent help'

Mr Small said Bella Caledonia may be able to continue with less than £50,000, but on a voluntary model.

The site's board is due to meet on Tuesday to discuss ways forward.

The statement posted on the Bella Caledonia website said: "The Advisory Board of Bella Caledonia confirms we are going to have to make the decision to close, unless an urgent fundraising appeal can be met.

"Mike Small has advised that despite his commitment to Bella, he will have to step down as editor as the position is too financially precarious and he is actively seeking other work.

"The board is looking at other funding models and is appealing for urgent help to finance the magazine in a more permanent way in a year when a second independence referendum is very likely to be called."

It added: "Regardless of the outcome the board and contributors of Bella would like to thank Mike for his years of work - mostly unpaid but always cheerful, professional, imaginative and dedicated.

"Mike and our diverse range of writers have made Bella a successful online magazine and we hope that legacy can continue in some form."

'Years of support'

A separate short message posted by Mr Small said: "Thanks to everyone for their support over the years, to the board members and writers who gave their time and to everybody who supported us financially and who took part in the debate.

"Couldn't quite manage to do it."

Activists and journalists have been using social media to voice their support for Mr Small and the website.

Bella Caledonian has a following of almost 48,000 people on Twitter and a Facebook group with almost 14,000 members.

On Monday, emails to the site were being returned with an automated response which said: "Bella is closed to submissions until further notice."

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