Bury St Edmunds-based St Edmundsbury NewsTalk, founded in 1980, is a talking newspaper which produces a weekly hour-long programme of news selected from the Bury Free Press, Newmarket Journal, the Haverhill Echo and the East Anglian Daily Times. The recording includes news stories, features and letters, and listeners can either access the programme as a podcast or using a USB and USB reader.
The service is run by a team of volunteers who either have roles as editors, producers, readers and processors.
Producer Pat Needham, technical manager Colin Holmes and editor Sheila Franklin. Picture: Tamika Green
But in order for the talking newspaper to continue running as efficiently as it has done, a team of six to eight processors and one or two producers are needed.
Sheila Franklin, an editor for the charity, said: “Processors are the people who don’t actually work on the show as such, but they’re really crucial because they post the memory sticks to our listeners every week, collect the memory sticks from the post office and wipe them clean so they can be re-recorded over again for the following week.
“Ideally we need people who perhaps would work as a team of two. It’s the sort of role that would suit a couple or two good friends.”
Pat Needham recording a show. Picture: Tamika Green
The service was vital to ensure that blind people felt included and stayed informed, added Sheila.
“A lot of blind people feel like they’re missing out, but the idea is to make them feel included in society, to know all the little details of what’s going on. It’s just another way of making sure they’re not forgotten.”
St Edmundsbury NewsTalk are seeking volunteer processors and producers. Picture: Tamika Green
The team is made up of 31 people, with 96 listeners in Bury and 25 in Newmarket. The volunteers work on a rota system which means individuals will help record the show every six weeks or so. With more volunteers, processors will also work on a rota every four weeks.
Volunteers meet on Thursdays from 7pm for around an hour at Unit 2 Enterprise Business Park in Severn Road, near the children’s play area.