Monday, 18 January 2021

Henley Talking Newspaper

IN 1982 Henley’s Talking Newspaper was launched by a group of people from Henley Lions Club 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 visually impaired listeners.

In the 38 years since then the charity has grown and we now have some 40 volunteers who work on a rota basis to provide an hour’s recording, mainly of the Henley Standard, each Thursday evening.

In all those years not one week had been missed in spite of severe weather conditions, equipment breakdown and readers failing to turn up.

However, the coronavirus outbreak forced us to stop for a while.

Now we are up and running again. We send out about 50 recordings each week, not only to those that are visually impaired but also anyone else who cannot read for themselves for other reasons.

A number of local care/nursing homes also get the recordings for their residents. 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 Townlands Memorial 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 us with 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 them to The Henley College who collect them all 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 completely free of charge to the listener as there is an arrangement with the Post Office that no charge is made for any post going to anyone who is registered as blind or partially sighted.

We currently pay postage for anyone who falls outside that criterion.

If you would like to start receiving recordings from the Henley & District Talking Newspaper, or would like more information on how to be involved as a volunteer, please call the chairman Richard Hodgkin on (01491) 573192 or email and he will be very happy to explain the service further.

Richard Hodgkin

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