Friday, 28 July 2017

IN 1982 Henley’s Talking Newspaper was launched by a group of people from Henley Lions Club and supported by other service organisations in the town.

From a group of readers around a single microphone in a living room, the first tapes were produced and sent out to about 20 visually impaired “listeners”.

In the 35 years since then the charity has grown and we now have some 50 volunteers who work on a rota basis to provide an hour’s recording, mainly of the Henley Standard, each Thursday evening.

In those 35 years not one week has been missed in spite of severe weather conditions, equipment breakdown or readers failing to turn up.

We now send out some 50 recordings each week, not only to those who are visually impaired but also anyone else who cannot read for themselves for many other reasons.

The majority of listeners are situated in or around Henley but we also have a number who have moved away from the area but like to keep in touch with what is happening in the town.

Each Thursday evening a recording studio is set up in the Maurice Tate room at the new Townlands Hospital by a “controller” who is then joined by four readers.

Each reader selects his or her own items to read from the paper. The Henley Standard kindly provides early copies of the paper.

Once recorded, the items are copied on to memory sticks and then sent out to the listeners in a specially designed, resealable envelope that can be used to return it to The Henley College, which collects all returned envelopes for use the following week.

We provide a very easy-to-operate player free of charge to anyone who does not have a device on which to play the recording.

This service is free of charge to the “listener” as we have an arrangement with the Post Office that no charge is made for any postings that are going to anyone who is registered as blind or partially sighted.

We currently pay postage for anyone who falls outside of this criterion.

If you would like to start receiving the recordings from the Henley & District Talking Newspaper, please call the chairman Richard Hodgkin on (01491) 573192 or email him on hodgkin3@waitrose.com and he will be very happy to explain the service further if required.

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