Malvern Talking News – Relaunch

February 03, 2021

 

In March 2020 Malvern Talking News had to hang up its microphone due to the restrictions and risks imposed by the Covid-19 outbreak. This was a heartbreaking time for all the volunteers who had worked tirelessly to deliver the Malvern Talking News to the residents of Malvern who are living with a visual impairment. The teams of recorders would meet on a Friday together in a room and record the news using a single microphone, which was then transferred onto a memory stick to be sent out to the listeners. There are obvious reasons why, with such a transmissible virus that is particularly harmful to the over 60s, we had to suspend this service.

 As Sight Concern Worcestershire is directly responsible for the Malvern Talking News, we recognised that we needed to come up with a safe solution that would allow us to make this essential local service available to as many people as possible.

Previously listeners would sign up to the free service, and along with the British Wireless for the Blind Federation, we provided people with a “Boombox” which would enable them to play the news on a memory stick delivered through the post.  Sometimes people would receive the memory stick but not get around to listening to it before having to send it back ready for the next edition as well as having to get it back in the post. Due to infection control measures we realised we could no longer send out memory sticks without asking the recipient to leave it for 72 hours and then clean it with antibacterial wipes before listening.

The new service promises to be much more streamlined with no requirement to send things backwards and forwards in the post. It can be accessed at any time to suit the client, and if you miss an edition, you can listen back to it when you are ready – “on demand”. The editions will come out once a fortnight to start with while we get the system up to speed, with the intention of it becoming a weekly service soon.  People will no longer have to register for the service as it will be freely available through online digital services.

The new service can be accessed through five different mediums.

  • Our website – We have a dedicated web-player installed in our website sightconcern.co.uk
  • Through the BWFB Player which is available on the BWFB website, the Talking News Federation website and the Talking Newspaper App which is available on both Apple App Store and Google Play
  • By using the Alexa skill “Malvern Talking Newspaper” on Amazon Echo Devices – Simply say “Alexa, Enable Malvern Talking Newspaper” and Alexa will guide you through the rest of the set up.
  • By phoning the dedicated number 01684 252552 to listen over the phone if you do not have access to digital online formats. This call is charged at the local rate.

 

We hope the new service will be as useful to people as it was previously. We know that the local news is important to our clients in the Malvern area and some people will have trouble accessing digital formats. However, if they would like to give it a go, they can give us a call and one of our Sight Loss Advisors will support them with setting it up.

We would especially like to thank all the volunteers who have provided the residents of Malvern with the Talking Newspaper service over the years. Their commitment and dedication to providing this service has been vital in its delivery. We would also like to thank the volunteers joining us for the new service, many of whom have been involved for with the Malvern Talking Newspaper for some time now, who are learning new ways of meeting the needs of the community in delivering this service and we hope that they are with us for some time to come.