Three years ago, Buxton Talking Newspaper took the plunge and went digital. The voluntary organisation sends out memory sticks containing recordings of local newspaper articles to visually impaired listeners and others who have difficulties accessing newsprint.
Volunteers used to send cassette tapes and CD versions but found problems with them as audio technology progressed. A fundraising drive enabled the purchase of equipment to record onto memory sticks.
Buxton Talking Newspaper is free to registered visually impaired people. Listeners are supplied with a player and memory sticks with recordings are sent via freepost.
Every Thursday, volunteers meet at Chapel-en-le-Frith Methodist Church, where news articles, letters and features in the Buxton Advertiser are cut out. Two teams of readers record this material, which is then edited and put onto a master memory stick by the digital editor. The admin team empties pouches of the previous week’s edition, copying the master memory stick and sending them off to listeners.
Overseeing the operation is Patricia Kerry. She keeps things running smoothly and does much of the behind the scenes work, as well as occasionally standing in as digital editor. The register of listeners has to be kept up to date; equipment needs monitoring and updating; new listeners need welcoming and the workings of the ‘sonic’ and memory stick explaining.
Buxton Talking Newspaper would like to say a huge thankyou to everyone who has helped us: all the people and organisations who have generously donated money to cover running costs and the cost of equipment; and all the volunteers who give freely of their time.
If you think you would like to become a listener, or know of someone who would benefit from the service, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Patricia on 01298 811021. New volunteers are always welcome. The group needs people who are available on a Thursday to do a range of jobs, and also people to help with the production of the bi-monthly magazine. Contact details as above.