Wealden charity receives Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

A charity in Wealden has been given the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

The award shines a light on charities across the country and is the UK’s highest volunteer accolade by the Queen - equivalent to an MBE.

Lord-Lieutenant of East Sussex, Andrew Blackman, said, “We are so very proud of what has been achieved and thrilled for the volunteers.

"For them to have been recognized in this way is a true testimony to our county, and to the rich tapestry of charities which give their heart and soul in caring for others.”

Wealden Talking News win Queen's Award for Voluntary Service

Nine charities in East Sussex were nominated, and seven won the award.

Wealden Talking News (WTN) works to produce a weekly recording of local newspapers for people who are sight impaired.

Chairman John Clemence said 70 volunteers work in teams to collect the news, record it onto the memory sticks, and then send it out for people to listen to.

He said at the time of being nominated: “There’s quite a bit of work involved.

“Listeners can treat it like a newspaper. Lots of people in lockdown were really lonely and this was the only thing they were getting.”

John said lockdown hit charities like WTN very hard, and now WTN is one of 12 in the country who kept going all the way through lockdown. He said: “Lots have closed and not started up again.”

Wealden District Council chairman Ron Reed visited the charity to congratulate its volunteers.

Councillor Reed said: “I am proud to have been able to attend Wealden Talking News to congratulate them on the award and to meet with the trustees and volunteers. It is a great charity within Wealden which continues to provide a community with resources that would not otherwise be available.

“I want to thank the volunteers for the warm welcome. I thoroughly enjoyed recording the news and being part of the team for the morning.”

John Clemence: “We were delighted to receive a visit from the chairman of Wealden District Council, Councillor Reed on Friday July 22. The workings of the charity were explained and demonstrated, and Councillor Reed expressed both his appreciation and compliments to all involved in the production of the weekly talking news output.”