What do you know about the… Merton Talking News
Registered Charity No. 272221
Blind and partially sighted people can listen to national and international news on radio and television. But they cannot read the local newspaper and so do not know what may be happening in their own town or borough.
The invention of the cassette tape recorder has been the means of spreading news and information to the blind. The Merton Talking Newspaper started in a small way in 1976 operating from a front room in Morden. Our first edition went out to 44 blind persons. At present we have over 200 listeners on our register. Moving from our front room we went to a larger one that we rented from the council, but now we are the proud residents of a purpose built studio.
Since 2014 we have replaced the cassettes with Memory sticks.
Every Thursday we obtain the local Guardian from which an editor selects the items to be read out that night. The reading is done by a team of four, two ladies and two men. Once the recording is completed we have to produce enough copies for our listeners. These are all checked and put into postal wallets. The wallets have removable address labels that can be turned over when it is time for it to be returned.
On the second part of the memory stick we record a magazine with notices of special interest to blind people. News of obstacles on the Borough streets, whether holes in the pavement or newly erected scaffolding around buildings.
We give details of new shops opening and old ones that close. There is a regular Recipe feature to bring fresh ideas to everyday meals, information from other listeners and occasional interviews with personalities and stars visiting our town.
The Wallets are sent post free under the “Articles for the Blind” convention. As they return to the studio, we have helpers who come in every day to remove the sticks and prepare the studio for the next session of recording.
We are helped by four teams of readers each with about ten members, then we have technical operators and many other helpers who work behind the scenes. All of them are volunteers who give loyal and enthusiastic service. Fundraising takes up a proportion of our time as we have to raise every penny we need to keep the service running.
- Might you like to become a news reader?
- Would you like to be a technical helper?
- Are you free to help one weekday morning?
- Do you know of a blind person who might wish to receive the talking news?
- Could you spare us a donation? (Cheques should be made payable to “Merton Talking News”).
We can be contacted at – 67 Clarendon Road, Colliers Wood London SW19 2DX
Telephone no. 020 8544 0551 or 020 8540 5446