Wyre Forest Talking Newspaper appeals for new listeners

Kidderminster Shuttle: Talking newspaper: Volunteers, from left, readers Valerie Bradley and David Condy, technician Peter Hodges and chairman Fran Hodges. Buy this photo » Talking newspaper: Volunteers, from left, readers Valerie Bradley and David Condy, technician Peter Hodges and chairman Fran Hodges.

SITTING down to read the newspaper is said to be one of life’s pleasures but for hundreds of blind, partially-sighted and disabled Wyre Forest residents, it simply isn’t possible.

Instead, they rely on the 90- minute recording of The Shuttle produced by the Wyre Forest Talking Newspaper to keep them up-to-date with the latest local news.

Each Friday night, a team of 10 to 12 dedicated volunteers meet in Franche to record selected news, crime, council, sport and entertainment stories as fast as possible to get the news to listeners by Saturday.

About 60 volunteers are split into three teams which each have an editor and a technician to select stories and make the recording.

Volunteers then have to copy the recording onto memory sticks, pop them into wallets ready to be collected by Royal Mail at 5am on Saturdays.

The Wyre Forest Talking Newspaper has about 200 listeners but chairman Fran Hodges is appealing for more, now the charity’s technology has improved.

Mrs Hodges, who was registered blind in 1999, said: “I used to love reading the newspaper. It was something I missed terribly.

“With the talking newspaper, I sit down and listen to it all the way through.

“We need new listeners but it’s very difficult as the people we are appealing for can’t see.”

The talking newspaper began in 1980 when the Kidderminster Lions and District Club decided it was needed in Wyre Forest.

The charity has had a number of venue changes but has now found a home at St Barnabas Community Hall.

The service is free and every eligible listener is given a USB player to play the recording on.

If anyone knows a friend or family member who they think would benefit from receiving the Wyre Forest Talking Newspaper, call 01562 751980 or 01299 823811.

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