BELLA Caledonia, the online pro-independence magazine first set up in 2007, is fighting for its survival.

Yesterday editor Mike Small announced it was to close, writing on the site: “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.”

The site’s Twitter biography was also changed to the past tense to read: “Bella Caledonia was an online magazine project which ran from 2007-2017.”

According to sources close to the site, Small’s decision to stop had been coming for the last few days, and he had told friends on Saturday morning that “Bella’s finances are in a bad way”. Small added that he was having to work on a voluntary capacity and couldn’t currently afford to pay contributors.

Most of Bella’s money had come through fundraisers and events. A special ceilidh had been organised for this Thursday at Glasgow’s Glad Cafe. Bella’s advisory board have confirmed this will still take place.

In a statement to The National, the board said they would do everything they could to keep the magazine going and appealed for financial backing.

“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.”

The statement continued: “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. We thank you for your support and patience in this time as we decide how to continue.”

Writer Alan Bissett commented: “Love reading and contributing to Bella. If this is goodbye, you’ll be sorely missed.”

Over the years the site featured articles from Irvine Welsh, Lesley Riddoch, Ewan Morrison and many others.

In an interview with this paper on the first anniversary of the 2014 referendum, Small explained why he and Kevin Williamson had founded it.

Bella was, he said, born out of twin complaints: “There wasn’t serious radical, political commentary and the cultural stuff was failing as well.”

He went on: “Bella is dedicated to the idea of self-determination rather than just independence; to exploring more deeply what it means to be independent in your life, independent in your communities, your economy and in your culture. Not just in Scotland but anywhere.

“Sometimes that causes us problems because our more narrowly defined nationalist community sometimes find that agenda difficult. And sometimes it finds that great.”