Hopes to boost listenership as Talking Newspaper in Lewes goes digital

Talking Newspaper volunteers at a recording session at the Phoenix Centre in Lewes
Talking Newspaper volunteers at a recording session at the Phoenix Centre in Lewes

The Phoenix Talking Newspaper for the Blind in Lewes has started recording its weekly news show on a USB memory stick in a bid to boost listeners.

It has been running for more than 20 years keeping blind listeners in Lewes District up to date with the news from the Sussex Express.

A grant from Lewes Town Council helped the group to buy digital recording equipment.

From May it will run its existing cassette system alongside the new digital system, keeping and hopefully expanding its membership.

Editor in chief Joyce Hancock, who lives in Ringmer, said: “It really was a case of go forward, or fold, and under the chairmanship of cllr Stephen Catlin, we took the decision that this invaluable service just had to continue.”

For those without the means to play the new format, playback equipment is available free of charge from the newspaper.

In Lichfield the conversion to digital technology has seen the listening base expand by more than 400 per cent.

Talking Newspaper listener Carole Borowski, who lives in Lewes and is registered blind, said she appreciated being able to keep up with the local news from the Sussex Express and being able to do this independently, without having to rely on other people to read the newspaper to her.

Carole said: “I have always been someone who likes to keep up with local events. It means I can do this independently rather than relying on other people to read it to me.

“Independence is very important to all of us.”

If you know of blind or partially sighted people in the area who would like to receive the Talking Newspaper email details to talkphoenix@hotmail.com

And if you are able to help with recording, or know someone who can, contact the Phoenix Centre in Lewes on 01273 488728 where recording sessions take place every Friday.

The service and postal service are free of charge and provided by the charity.