A small volunteer group for the Royal Society for the Blind get together on a Wednesday morning to read the Northern Argus news to locals.
Natascha Yandell, President of Lions Club of Clare Greg Pulford, Carole Dunk, Mid North Tech Centre owner Gavin McElroy, Pat Dawson, Rhonda Brown, Claire McCann and the founders of the group Chris and Ashleigh Radcliffe and Margaret Springbett reads the Northern Argus. Absent: Pat and Guy Ballantyne. Some of the previously used technology is also on show.
For majority of people, the ability to see and read is completely normal but for others it isn’t, and this is where the ‘Talking Newspaper’ comes in to assist.
It began back in 2003 by volunteers who answered an appeal by the RSB in the Northern Argus.
Former Clare locals Ashleigh and Chris Radcliffe helped the group get off the ground which has continued ever since.
Technology has changed significantly since the first reading of the newspaper – from cassette tapes and cassette copiers, to digital readings and MP3 players for the listeners.
The Talking Newspaper went digital in 2012 and cut the time of recording by almost two hours.
Each Wednesday, two volunteers get together in a small building behind the Uniting Church, where the equipment is kept and safely stored, and they read the Northern Argus.
Volunteers said they don’t read adverts or the whole paper, just the important stories and a few lines from each.
But they do read and describe some photographs, so listeners can paint their own picture of the story.
“We read the main stories, personal notices, the editorial and some sport and we do describe photographs,” volunteer Carole Dunk said.
In total there are eight readers rostered on in lots of two for each edition of the Northern Argus and two new volunteers are currently in the process of joining the group.
But an extra two would be helpful.
The whole service is anonymous and listeners need to go through the Royal Society for the Blind to register.
In the past there have been up to 23 users of the ‘Talking Newspaper’ but today it is just eight – there’s plenty of room for more.
Due to the change in technology and a sound computer needed for the recording, both the Northern Argus and Lions Club of Clare got together to pay for a new laptop. The RSB only supply the recording equipment, not a computer.
With the help of Gavin McElroy of Mid North Tech Centre it was possible to give the group an affordable laptop to use. This computer will allow the volunteers to continue reading for the blind and listeners to learn of the latest local news.
If you want to volunteer for a couple of hours on a roster basis for the Talking Newspaper Natascha Yandell on 8842 1017 or 0457 971 017.
Or if you wish to register for the Talking Newspaper call Helen Waters on 8254 3011.
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