The world is a smaller place now and news travels faster than ever before thanks to new media, writes Julia Bradbury.

Long gone are our carrier pigeons, but not our local stories. It's just that these days a local story can end up on the other side of the globe in minutes.

The diversity of Britain's regions is a wonderful thing. You can spend years getting to know an area and still discover something new and exciting just next door, next week.

Across the land the most beautiful countryside and coastal landscapes can be found next to some of the country's most vibrant towns and cities.

We should be proud of the regional diversity which makes Britain such a special and unique place to live.

Many people across the nation feel this sense of pride keenly and devote their time to local clubs, events, societies, sports, charities, and other worthy causes which benefit and strengthen their local community.

This is where local newspapers have an important role to play - promoting and highlighting these activities so that more people can get involved. Two charities that I am involved with - Marie Curie Cancer Care and the NSPCC - have benefitted greatly from coverage in local papers in this way.

By doing this, local papers can be a force for positive change, encouraging people to contribute more to the community and take pride in their surroundings. This is the reason I am supporting Local Newspaper Week this year.

As well as influencing their community, local newspapers can also highlight important issues in their region to a wider audience. This is extremely important in Britain where people's needs and concerns vary enormously depending upon the region in which they live.

Local papers dig beneath the surface of their communities to tell stories which sometimes go on to hit the national news agenda and captivate the nation.

I am lucky - I have several 'locals'. I work from London so will try to enlist the help of the local papers to support the charity LIVING STREETS who this year are teaming up with a new online outdoor brand called GoYomp to promote Camden ‘Walk to school Week’; an action packed week aiming to promote awareness and the benefits of walking to school, starting May 16.

Eager to involve as many children as possible, they're looking to get the local schools on board and the papers will provide a vital platform to spread that news.

I grew up in Rutland which I consider home - where the mighty Rutland Mercury has a passionate following.

I went to school in Sheffield and remember the Shefffield Star with fondness.

Local papers give communities a powerful and unique voice which can be heard even in the corridors of power in Westminster.

It allows people in regions far from London to highlight their concerns and issues to the people who make decisions which affect their lives.

Long may this voice be heard because it is vital to preserving the extraordinary regional diversity which makes Britain so special.