News provided free to visually impaired

Colin Major in the recording studio at Adur Civic Centre DM1500017a
Colin Major in the recording studio at Adur Civic Centre DM1500017a

MOST people reading this article will be doing so for themselves, but did you know news from the Herald is also available in audio format for the blind and partially sighted?

Adur Talking News provides CDs of local news and articles of interested, read by volunteers and sent out free.

Four teams of five operate a rota system, recording once a week in the studio at Adur Civic Centre’s East Wing, in Ham Road, Shoreham.

Colin Major, who works on the recording side if things, along with two other volunteers, said: “We find people are very grateful and occasionally they will send a donation back. To most of the older people, this is a lifeline.

“We rely on volunteers to run the whole thing. They try to be as entertaining as they can. We are not the BBC and never set out to be like them. It is quite a chatty, friendly style.”

Each CD starts with the song Sussex by the Sea. The editor will do an introduction and any notices, then the team takes it in turns to introduce themselves before the articles are read out.

Volunteers reading and recording articles

Volunteers reading and recording articles

Mr Major explained: “Every team has an editor, who will bring the chosen articles in. The don’t bring the whole paper, they cut the articles out, to avoid the constant sound of the pages turning.

“There will always be Herald news. That is what it relies on. I don’t know what we would do without the Herald, really. That is what it is all about, the local news.

“Some teams do 80 minutes with everything news, others do 40 minutes of news then letters and other articles from magazines. The volunteers don’t get much time to pre-read the pieces but it does work well.”

It is all computer controlled, in the studio, and mistakes can be edited out afterwards. The editing is done on Wednesday mornings, then it is duplicated on CDs to send out.

I don’t know what we would do without the Herald, really. That is what it is all about, the local news

Colin Major, Adur Talking News volunteer

Most people are from Shoreham and Southwick but a few are from further afield, including Wales.

Mr Major explained: “They have lived locally and like to keep up to date with what is happening.”

The service is completely free. The only thing people need is a CD player.

More modern Talking News groups have gone on to memory sticks but the Adur group has only recently bought new duplicating equipment, using a grant from Adur Pot of Gold, so a lot has been invested in that and the group could not justify changing it at this stage.

The new CD stack, purchased using money from Adur Pot of Gold

The new CD stack, purchased using money from Adur Pot of Gold