23 July 2018

Saffron Building Society supports audio news service for local people with sight loss

Saffron Walden Talking News (SWTN), a totally free service bringing the local news in an audio format to people with sight loss and those with a print impairment, is the latest charity to receive monies from Saffron Building Society’s Community Fund. A grant of £1000, enabling Essex based charity Support 4 Sight to run SWTN, is already being put to good use.

The talking news service provides a welcomed facility to those in the Saffron Walden and Uttlesford area who find reading traditional print media difficult – those with easily identifiable sight conditions and those who may be suffering from less recognisable conditions which bring reading limitations, such as the after effects of a stroke or dyslexia.

Bringing local news to local people

The news is provided on USB sticks with the service offering a free loan of an accessible USB player for the duration of the subscription. The SWTN aims to keep up with the latest technology, endeavouring to offer this service in a range of formats to help bring the local news to print impaired people of all ages.

Considerable work goes into each week’s recording, starting with the Editors who select the articles to be read. The Readers then read the news, and the Technicians record it onto a laptop, before multi copying onto USB sticks.

After subscribers have listened, the address label is reversed, the USB stick is posted back without any charge, and the whole process starts again the following week. These recordings are also made available on the web. A home visit is carried out by volunteers for all new listeners to ensure they understand the service and how to use the player.

Saffron Building Society supports Support 4 Sight.

(left to right): Sara Andrews – Member Saffron Building Society (SBS); Laura Thompson-Harper – Community Fundraiser; Paul Atkins – Resource Centre and Volunteer Manager; Gary Hyams – CEO Support 4 Sight; Claire Hunnable – Senior Executive Assistant & Community Business Partner SBS, Colin Field - CEO SBS, Tilly the Dog.

Gary Hyams – Support 4 Sight’s CEO said: “We are thrilled by Saffron’s support which has enabled this life changing service to flourish. SWTN is run entirely by volunteers however finances like the Saffron Building Society’s donation are needed to facilitate this activity and purchase resources to enable the service to run.”

Claire Hunnable – Saffron Building Society’s Senior Executive Assistant & Community Business Partner added: Meeting those volunteering at the charity was a huge inspiration. The work the charity is doing is making such a difference – good sight and the ability to read the local newspaper is something we can take for granted. As a local business we are pleased to be able to support a local charity doing such worthwhile work.”

New listeners to Saffron Walden Talking News are always welcome, call 01799 523700 or email swtn@support4sight.org.uk.

Find out more about Saffron Building Society’s wider charity work and its Community Fund.