3rd July 2020 - Blind and Visually Impaired listeners welcome Chatterbox back into their homes
IThe Norwich Talking Newspaper has had many phone calls and messages from blind and visually impaired people (VIP) who are delighted to be receiving recordings again. After 12 weeks without their regular updates on Norwich news and information they are once again receiving yellow wallets, containing memory stick recordings. These are being delivered free of charge by the Royal Mail.
Chatterbox volunteers had been doing everything safely from their own homes and making their recordings available on the Internet, on the phone and to smart speaker users. The team were praised for the quality of the content and the recordings. In order to emulate the sound quality achieved in the Chatterbox studio, readers were recording from under duvets or in wardrobes! However, listener statistics showed that quite a few of Chatterbox’s regular listeners were not able to access the internet or listen to recordings on the phone.
David Potten, the Acting Chair of Chatterbox said: “Once we learnt that most of our listeners were unable to access our podcasts we realised we had to take action to resume sending out memory sticks – but to find a way to do so safely. At the moment returning to the system used before COVID-19, when twenty volunteers went to our office every Thursday, would threaten their safety. In order to follow the government’s guidelines we will continue to do all the editing, reading and sound-editing in volunteers’ homes. A very small number of volunteers will go to the office to process the 350 to 500 wallets and memory sticks that go out to our listeners, and their visits will be spread over three days, so normally there will be a maximum of two volunteers in the office on any day. We are also upgrading cleaning and hand sanitising practices.”
David added: “We are very pleased that our listeners will now regularly receive these audio versions of the Norwich Evening News and the monthly recordings of the EDP Norfolk magazine and Chatterbox Let’s Talk. There will however be one change from our normal talking newspaper. We will only be producing recordings once every two weeks for the time being. We hope to be able to go back to once a week recording when the crisis eases and we can make full use of our studio and offices again.”
Chatterbox now welcomes more blind and visually impaired listeners. The charity provides free listening boxes and free regular recordings of the news. For those with Internet access Chatterbox can also provide a free smart speaker. If you would like to contact Chatterbox you can ring 01603 765365 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.