Bexhill MP, Huw Merriman, took part in the weekly recording of the Bexhill Observer at the studio of the Bexhill Talking Newspaper Association (BTNA) recently. Huw toured the sorting and copying room and the recording room and talked to the News Team who were editing the Bexhill Observer ready for the recording session. Mr Merriman himself read an article for the programme and recorded a message for BTNA listeners. The chairman, Christine Madeley, mentioned two issues with him which our listeners, who have visual impairment, had raised which related to the lack of controlled pedestrian crossings in Bexhill with audible signals and the use of toilets for disabled. Mr Merriman promised he would raise these with the appropriate authorities.
The BTNA have served people in Bexhill with visual impairment for over 40 years. Every Friday a memory stick is posted to them via the Royal Mail so they can listen to the programme on a special player which we provide. The programme consists of a summary of the latest Bexhill Observer news and some magazine style articles such as short stories and local interest features. The service is completely free. There are around 40 volunteers working in teams to produce the programme which is very much appreciated and has especially been a lifeline to our listeners during the isolation of the lockdowns. The BTNA kept in touch with all their listeners by phone during the national lockdowns.
Speaking to listeners Huw said “I know how important this service is to local people with impaired vision. My own grandfather lost his sight to diabetes whilst still of working age and I recall him listening to the local recorded news and books. It connected him to what was going on locally and helped him to engage with family and friends by keeping him informed. I want to give a big thank you to all the volunteers and wish all listeners my very best wishes, especially during these challenging times.”
Unfortunately the Hastings equivalent stopped operating at the beginning of the first lockdown and so the BTNA is inviting their listeners to join them to receive the weekly memory stick which will include Hastings news. This service is open to anyone who finds reading a challenge.
If you would like to join, or know someone who would, please contact Barry Edwards on 01424 211007 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would consider becoming a volunteer contact Ron Brazier on 01424 844177 or email@example.com.