About

The Henley and District Talking Newspaper is an organisation run by volunteers to provide an invaluable service to visually impaired people in the community.

Some 50 volunteers work on a rota basis throughout the year so that people, who are unable to read the newspaper by themselves, receive an audio recording of The Henley Standard free of charge through their letter box each week.

Although the work is done by amateurs, every effort is made to achieve the best possible result for the listener. Specially prepared pages of the newspaper are collected from the Standard office on a Thursday afternoon each week and that evening a group of four readers and a technical controller produce a recording of about an hour in length. We are aware that not all the listeners live in the town itself, so news is included from the surrounding villages each week. We also include, 'Letters to the Editor', ‘The Diary Page’, the family announcements and ‘Thought for the Week’. Other than these items, each reader chooses news articles which are of general interest to the listener. The recording is then copied onto memory sticks and posted out to the listeners in a protective wallet and usually received on the Saturday morning. Once the weeks news has been listened to, the listener reverses the address label in the wallet and posts it back to us. There is no need to add any stamps because The Post Office operates a freepost service for the blind and partially sighted.

This service is free of charge and our running costs are covered by the donations we gratefully receive.

Change to digital

At the Beginning of 2010, following several months of research, discussion and fundraising by a committee working party the move was made from analogue to digital recording. The recording is now made using specially developed software for a laptop computer which allows the technical controller some degree of editing if necessary and then the finished recording is copied onto memory stick. These are despatched via The Post Office in protective wallets and usually received by the listener on Saturday morning. Most listeners are provided with a player on which to listen to the news but the memory stick will also play in any computer with a USB port. The move to digital recording has not only improved the sound quality for the listener but brought the whole production process up to date with current technology. It is hoped that in the not too distant future the listener will be able to register to receive the news each week by downloading a MP3 file from this website.

History

The association was founded in 1982 with sponsorship from the Lions Club of Henley on Thames and with support of other service organisations in the town. The initiative came from Arthur Hull, who as then President of the Lions Club, brought his energy and enthusiasm to the formative years as the first Chairman of Henley and District Talking Newspaper Association until his death in 1987. From a group of readers round a single microphone in Arthur's living room sending the first cassette tapes to about twenty blind people, the Talking Newspaper has developed rapidly and has grown immensely over the last thirty years.

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