Talking Newspaper keeps communities connected to local news during COVID-19

Local community organisation the Talking Newspaper for Todmorden has successfully adapted how they operate to ensure people with a visual impairment are kept up to date on recent news and events throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.  With the support of a dedicated team of volunteers, the Talking Newspaper for Todmorden has continued to produce a talking newspaper each month, not missing a single edition during the past year.

The Talking Newspaper is a recorded digest of articles from the local newspaper and a unique magazine section with original interviews, poetry and other items of local interest.  These recordings are created thanks to volunteer readers, editors and recording engineers.  Once ready, the monthly recording is available to play on the Talking Newspaper for Todmorden website but also sent out directly on a USB stick to over 30 local residents.

When the first lockdown was announced in March 2020, the organisation held a meeting to discuss next steps as the team recording sessions would have to be put on hold indefinitely.

Paul Suthers, the Chair of the Talking Newspaper for Todmorden said:

“Our recording room was closed due to lockdown, so when it was announced, we had a zoom to discuss going forward.  The first topic of conversation was ‘Do we stop producing the talking newspaper or find a way to continue?’

It was unanimous that we find a way to continue and produce the talking newspaper from our homes.  Everyone pulled together to continue production of the newspaper and the level of enthusiasm and teamwork to keep it going has been heart-warming.  Also, a big thank you to Age Concern Todmorden for helping with the delivery of our USB Stick envelopes.

Naturally, we had a few teething problems moving to this way of working but it’s a really slick operation now with only a few days turn around for editing.  We have also seen an increase in more and more people listening via our website.  With lockdown disrupting other support lines for people, I am proud of our team for keeping people connected and up to date during this unprecedented time.’

To find out more about the Talking Newspaper for Todmorden, please visit their website http://www.tntod.org.uk/.

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