What do you know about the Merton Talking News?
It is a registered charity; No. 272221
It was established in 1976
The first edition went out to 44 blind people. We now have about 150 subscribers.
Blind and partially sighted people can listen to national and international news on the radio or television, but they often struggle to obtain news from their local area.
The invention of the cassette tape was a new important means of spreading news and information to the blind and visually impaired and this is how The Merton Talking Newspaper started, in a small way with audio cassettes in 1976.
It operated from a front room in Morden. From that front room in Morden we first moved to a larger room rented from the council but we are now the proud occupants of a purpose built studio.
In conjunction with our increase in size, technology has also advanced rapidly in the period since the first edition.
In 2014 we replaced the cassettes with Memory sticks and introduced the provision of a life -long loan scheme for a memory stick player for our subscribers.
Additionally each edition of the talking newspaper is emailed to subscribers who prefer their news delivered that way, uploaded to our website and sent out on Twitter and Facebook.
Each week an editor obtains a copy of the Wimbledon Times and selects items to be included in that week’s edition. Some editors introduce other articles which they feel may be of interest and which have been overlooked by the Wimbledon Times.
The recording is done by a team of four readers, usually two female and two male voices.
Once the recording is finished it is edited, checked and copied to memory sticks which are then put into bespoke postal wallets for postal subscribers. The wallets have removable address labels that can be turned over when it is time for them to be returned to the studio.
The wallets are sent post free. They are “Articles for the Blind”. This means we don’t have to pay to post them to our subscribers and when the subscriber turns over the address label, they don’t have to pay to return them to the studio.
The second part of the memory stick contains a magazine, not strictly news related or current affairs but with items of special interest to the blind and visually impaired.
As they return to the studio, volunteers process the envelopes, removing the sticks, updating the registers and preparing the studio for the next recording.
There are currently a team of four or five editors each of whom can rely on a selection of readers.
The editing, reading, technical and administrative functions are all carried out by volunteers.
New, enthusiastic volunteers are always welcome.
- Would you like to become a news reader?
- Would you like to be a technical helper?
- Are you free to help for a couple of hours during the day in the week?
- Do you know of a blind or visually impaired person who might like to receive, or benefit from receiving the talking news?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, we’d love to hear from you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, call the studio on 020 8544 0551 or contact us through MertonVision.
If the answer to all those questions is no, or even if it is yes, the service that we provide is free to subscribers, run by volunteers, but still incurs costs. Could you be a fund raiser or make a donation?
If the answer to that is also yes, please contact us.