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Cardiff character: Matt Appleby

Hyperlocal website Roath Cardiff has just been awarded £5000 worth of funding by the House of Commons. Founder, Matt Appleby explains the idea that originated in his local pub: “I just had this nagging feeling there was loads going on and I was missing out on it,” he says. “Like the little stuff that wouldn’t make the papers so nobody knew about it.”

This month, Roath Cardiff discovered they were the regional winners and national finalists of TalkTalk’s scheme, Digital Heroes; it came the same week as the website’s second birthday. “We went to the House of Commons to collect our prize, it was very exciting, we had a double celebration at the pub,” he muses.

Geek at heart

Matt ApplebyMatt, 39, whose biggest influence is his parents, has been managing director at PR company, Golley Slater for the last seven years, he’s always had a love for social media. “My worst habit is checking my phone in company, I’m a geek at heart, I just don’t switch off,” he jokes, waving his iPhone and swivelling on a chair in the company’s lavish conference room.

So when the Guardian brought a project called Guardian Local, to Cardiff three years ago, enabling writers to experiment with hyperlocal blogging, Matt seized the opportunity to set up shop while people were still interested. “Once people were together, there was an obvious need for a hub. We realised that there wasn’t only an audience but a need too.”

Roath Cardiff is an online platform for local news, people and events. Over the last two years it has offered locals various opportunities to get involved, Matt’s favourite is the 4am project where people take photos of the area and upload it to the website: “There’s something nice about knowing you’re out there with unseen hundreds, getting a new perspective of where you live.”

Plenty more where that came from

Matt, who also writes a recipe blog, Easyteas.co.uk, is currently care-taking for the website, We are Cardiff, running Roath Cardiff and maintaining a job as managing director at Golley Slater. “To relax, I read, my favourite author is P.G.Woodhouse, he is the funniest and best user of the English language. I’m utterly brainless in terms of plots, so it’s total relaxation,” Matt sighs.

Busy man Matt in his 9 to 5 environment, Golly Slater PR

Busy man Matt in his 9 to 5 environment, Golly Slater PR

The successful businessman, who studied German at the University of York, is also a real ale lover. You can often find him in The Albany with a pint of Worthington White. “My wife keeps accusing me of being a closet German because I drink so much beer and eat sausages all the time,” he says laughing. 

For Matt’s next project he plans to set up a photography site, although he would also like to learn how to use the potter’s wheel “I continue to make lists that are as random as the albums I buy,” he exclaims smiling.

Matt finishes with a word of advice; “the most important thing I’ve learnt in my career is to keep it in perspective, though I’m not quite sure I’m there yet!” 


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