Welcome cash boost for talking newspaper

THE service that ensures blind and visually impaired people keep up to date with articles in the News & Mail has been given £333 by Waitrose at West Byfleet.

Woking Talking Newspaper (WTN) was one of three charities to receive a donation from the supermarket under its Give a Little Love initiative.

Waitrose staff Bea and Fran present the cheque to Judy Moore and Tim Harris, trustees of the Woking Talking Newspaper at Waitrose West Byfleet store. Picture by Bob Holmes

WTN treasurer Tim Harris said the donation is a significant help to the organisation, which has an annual income in the hundreds of pounds. “It’s very good and extremely generous,” he added.

The gift is part of regular charitable donations by Waitrose stores that previously ran a scheme in which customers voted for one of three selected charities by putting a green disc into its “collecting box” near the checkouts.

A monthly amount was shared out in relation to the number of discs in each box, but £1,000 is now divided equally between three good causes.

Tim said the money from West Byfleet Waitrose will supplement regular support from Woking Borough Council’s community grants scheme, to ensure WTN can keep its equipment up to date and repaired if necessary.

“We use postal wallets to send out recordings and they do get battered around a bit in the post, so this money will allow us to replace quite a lot of those and possibly replace some of the memory sticks we use,” Tim said.

WTN also lends out USB MP3 players, which cost about £50 each, and Tim said the donation means the charity will be able to make sure it has enough to distribute when it gets enquiries from new listeners.

The charity’s volunteers read out and record articles from the current Woking and Chobham editions of the News & Mail and Woking Borough Council’s Woking Magazine.

The audio files are then uploaded on to an internet site and are collected and processed by the producer, Tony Charters, a former News & Mail photographer who now lives near Christchurch on the South Coast.

Tony then sends the processed files to a volunteer who prepares a master recording and copies this on to USB memory sticks that are sent out to the listeners in returnable wallets.

WTN is keen to attract new listeners to the free service, which was set up in the 1960s.

If you are caring for someone or have a relative who is blind or visually impaired and would benefit from the service, visit www.wokingtn.org.uk or call Tim Harris on 07971 512786.

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