Talking newspaper for visually impaired on the search for more listeners

talking newspaper

Volunteers of Talking Newspaper at the Bungay Community Centre. - Credit: Supplied

Volunteers at a talking newspaper which was established in 1991 are on the search for new listeners as they emerge from the aftermath of the pandemic.

Three Rivers Talking Newspaper (3RTN) is one of over 500 independently run Talking Newspaper organisations in the UK. 

It was set up in 1991, to provide local news for people living in Beccles, Bungay, Halesworth, Loddon and the surrounding areas, who have a visual impairment or other reading disability.

In the early years, the newspaper was recorded onto cassette tapes. However, in 2009 it went digital, and switched to USB sticks.

Talking newspapers provide listeners with a portable USB memory stick player, and show them how to use it.

Content for the weekly talking newspaper is drawn from the Beccles and Bungay Journal.

The quarterly magazine, Valley Sounds, contains a mix of local interviews, memories, poems, gardening and cookery tips.

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Volunteer Sally Connor said: "In the early days of lockdown, we had to stop producing the talking newspaper for a short period, as we were unable to access the studio.

"A few of the volunteers had the technology and know-how to record from home, using mobile phones.

"We managed to create three teams who could do this, and email the recordings to one of our volunteers, 

"Unfortunately, the majority of our listeners don’t have computers at home, so our listener liaison officer, Sally, telephoned all of the listeners to let them know the situation.

"In February 2021, we took the decision to duplicate the recordings onto USB sticks, and that Emma, our Chairperson would, single-handedly, do all the administration work at home, then collect the USBs, put them into the pouches, then deliver them to the post office.

"These days, we are back in the studio, at Bungay Community Centre.

"We now operate four teams, with one of these still recording remotely from home.

"The studio teams observe Covid-19 precautions. 

"We would love to have more listeners, so if you are aware of anyone who is blind or partially sighted, who would like to receive the talking newspaper, please contact our Secretary, Helen on 07789 994906 or email: secretary@3rtn.org.uk."

For more details about 3RTN please visit the website: www.3rtn.org.uk