Martin Read – News Reporter
A well established, entirely free service for the district’s visually impaired and partially sighted continues to produce a much appreciated weekly talking newspaper. Jon Dean, Chairman of Roundabout Talking News, tells the District Post: “We’re part of the 500 strong national network of talking newspapers and made our first tape in December 1978 –when I joined the Charity. Originally we operated from Forest School, where the tapes were produced in one of the boys’ classrooms. We’ve gradually developed since then and now have our own dedicated recording studio in Horsham’s Drill Hall. Our Secretary Howard Brake is another long standing member and we have a team of around 50 volunteers, selecting the news stories to be featured each week, along with general interest items to be featured in the magazine section. We then produce the digital recordings, converting them onto memory sticks, assembling them for despatch (by Royal Mail, without charge) and subsequently sorting out the pre-paid wallets returned by listeners.”
The alternating teams work on a rota basis and are supported by sound technicians and computer engineers. Some “outside broadcast” interviews are also recorded. Around 135 listeners benefit from the service – including a former local resident now living in Scotland, keen to keep in touch with local news. Listeners are issued with a small, easy to use box (which also functions as a radio) on which to play the memory sticks sent to them every week. When the sticks have been listened to they are put back into the wallet and the label is then reversed to enable despatch back free post to the service.
Horsham resident 80 year old Barbara Cave says: “I’ve been enjoying the Talking News bulletins for three or four years now and look forward to them arriving each week. They keep me up to date with what is happening. I particularly enjoy the items on travel and books in the magazine section and am especially fond of the seasonal poems!”
Jon Dean adds: “If you, or someone you know, is registered blind or partially sighted, we would be happy to provide a free weekly recording of Roundabout Talking News, together with a speaker system if required.”
Roundabout Talking News is a registered charity, funded by street collections, donations and grants. www.roundabouttalkingnews.co.uk –
firstname.lastname@example.org – 01403 266924