Wealden Talking News free service for the visually impaired.

8th March

Huw Merriman MP visits the Wealden Talking News studio

Huw Merriman, local MP visits the Wealden Talking News studio.

Local MP, Huw Merriman, visited the Wealden Talking News studio to support the charity’s efforts to bounce back from the loss of listeners caused by the pandemic. Mr Merriman, accompanied by former Wealden District Council Chair, Cllr Pam Doodes, toured the studio and later contributed to the news programme by reading his weekly column.

Huw was warmly welcomed by the Chairman of Wealden Talking News, John Clemence, as well as trustees and volunteers. Mr Merriman thanked the volunteers for their outstanding work to support the visually impaired community and keeping their listeners in touch, especially during the pandemic.

Speaking to the team he said “I understand the extraordinary job that organisations such as Wealden Talking News do in improving the lives of people whose disability so often cuts them off from their community. I’ve seen it first-hand when my grandfather lost his sight to diabetes whilst still of working age. I have fond memories of him listening to the local recorded news and books. It allowed him to stay informed with what was going on locally and helped him to engage with friends and family.”

Wealden Talking News is a registered charity that has produced a free weekly news bulletin covering Heathfield, Battle, Crowborough, Uckfield, Hailsham, Polegate, Seaford, Newhaven and outlying districts for over 40 years. Across the whole of East & West Sussex, WTN provide monthly audio versions of local news and features from local newspapers along with Sussex Life magazine, People’s Friend magazine and Listeners’ Sussex, their own compilation of local history and wildlife, and topics of interest in Sussex.

Wealden Talking News were vital support for the visually impaired during the pandemic.

Wealden Talking News have a proud record of not missing a single publication since the start of the pandemic. This was achieved by implementing innovative recording measures during the height of the pandemic, such as recording the news under a towel at home in order to improve the acoustics! They are thought to be one of only 12 talking newspapers nationally to achieve the amazing record of not missing a single publication. Like all talking newspapers, the inability to communicate with prospective listeners during this period, brought an all-time low in client numbers.

The service is free to visually impaired people to listen to on a memory stick which is sent to their home to be played on their own stick player (loaned free by Wealden Talking News). Postage is free courtesy of the Royal Mail and prospective listeners need not be registered blind or partially sighted, they just need to have difficulty reading a newspaper column.

New listeners across Sussex are invited to contact the studio to be added to the list of recipients – just call 01435 862304 or email secretarywtn@gmail.com. So if you have a friend, neighbour or family member that would benefit from this service, Wealden Talking News would love to hear from you.

WTN is run entirely by volunteers and has no government funding, relying on donations to provide its service.

Registered Charity number 290183.