A LOCAL service with users based in Leigh, Westcliff and Southend are making a call out for more members and team volunteers.
The Southend Talking Newspaper provides spoken word recordings taken from local and other news sources for blind or visually impaired listeners.
Their output includes weekly news, a magazine and bulletin that alternate every three weeks.
Copies are sent on either CD or USB in special wallets to approximately 90 members in the City, with the option to also to go online and listen from their website.
Entirely funded on donations, the registered charity also sends out free Alexa dot machines to users so they can listen via the internet on their device.
Now, Chairman of Southend Talking Newspaper Nigel Gayner BEM wants to spread the word to anyone is the area who might benefit from the service, but hasn’t heard of the offering.
He said: “At present we send about 90 copies of each recording to local people, but we are aware that Southend Council have over 3,000 registered blind or visually impaired residents.
“We get a lot of referral from Southend in Sight based in Hamlet Court Road, but we want to make sure we are reaching out to as many people as possible.”
Mr Gayner added that it was not just for visually impaired people: “Anyone who has difficult holding a newspaper, through Parkinsons for example, is very welcome to use the free service.”
The team in Southend is also recruiting new volunteers, as Mr Gayner explained: “We have vacancies for readers, who are people who are recorded reading out the papers, at our studio by the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) offices in Southend.
“We also need voluntary technicians to help with the recording, a Minute Taker to replace our current Secretary, and voluntary administrators to help with wallets.
“In addition, we need an editor, who will selects the articles to be read.”
Mr Gayner, who was awarded a British Empire Medal for services to charity, added: “Formed in 1978 by volunteers from a local Rotary club, we now have one team of five who are still Rotarians, but the remaining 37 volunteers have come on board over time from the local population.
“I started volunteering here over 21 years ago, through the Rotary, and I have been Chairman for six years.”
Mr Gayner added that the diversity of roles on offer means there is something to suit everyone, with the age range of volunteers between 18 and 80.
A rota of volunteers record in the studio once every six weeks, so the time commitment isn’t enormous, but is a great way of boosting CV experience and skills, making new friends, and helping the local community.
To find out more, visit https://southendtalkingnewspaper.org.uk/
Email directly on [email protected] or call 01702 898900.
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