A MUCH-LOVED charity for the Blind has received the ‘Worcester City Mayor’s Service to the Community Award’ at the Guildhall in Worcester recently.
The Worcester Talking Newspaper, which keeps the area’s Blind and Visually impaired up-to-date with recorded items of local news, was singled out for the Award from several other nominees.
Coun Allah Ditta (Mayor of Worcester 2019-20), along with Coun Alan Amos, Rev. Andy Todd of St Stephen’s Church,presented the plaque on the steps of The Guildhall.
On behalf of the charity, volunteers Elizabeth Hill and Carole Hartle accepted the very socially-aware honour in a very physically-distanced ceremony, held in the elegant forecourt of the City’s 18th century town-hall.
However, in line with Government contact-reducing guidelines, Keith Slater, who arranged the ceremony said: “I am so very sorry none of us can even shake your hand just to say ‘Thank you and well done.”
Every week for the last 42 years, a team selected from the organisation’s 80 or so unpaid volunteers has met to record a 90-minute spoken news bulletin which is then duplicated and sent out, completely free of charge, to around 120 blind or visually-impaired listeners in the Worcester area.
Recordings are made in the organisation’s fully-equipped studio which can normally accommodate up to five readers, but due to restrictions necessitated by Covid-19, the teams are currently much reduced in number, consisting, for the foreseeable future, of just two masked readers, metres apart in the studio, with a separate recording engineer in his sound proof booth.
“The coronavirus restrictions make it much more of a challenge to produce the bulletins, but our listeners are very appreciative of the service,” said a spokesman for the charity.
The group also provides Talking Books from an extensive library at their base in Worcester, along with a monthly spoken magazine. “
“The magazine features items of local interest, such as interviews with visiting celebrities, and articles about local history and arts, with specially-written music, and puzzles designed especially for blind listeners,” the spokesman added.
“Unfortunately the almost complete closing-down of entertainment venues in Worcester, such as The Swan Theatre and Huntingdon Hall, has temporarily limited the number of well-known celebrities coming to the city, but our speakers are still able to record remotely from home.”
The annual Mayor’s Award is now in its sixth year, and is dedicated to acknowledging the efforts of the ‘unsung heroes of Worcester’ according to Coun Alan Amos, who started the award scheme:
“It’s for people who have worked hard for others, not expecting anything back themselves,” he added.
Anyone interested in volunteering for the Worcester Talking Newspaper, in any capacity, or would like to receive the service themselves, can call 01905 767766