09:00AM, Monday 03 February 2020
A £1,000 donation from the Louis Baylis Trust will enable a charity to continue offering its ‘lifeline’ service to the visually impaired.
Established in 1984, the Maidenhead and District Talking Newspaper Association (MADTNA) provides free weekly recordings of the Maidenhead Advertiser to people with sight loss.
The 60 listeners who subscribe to the free service receive the 90-minute audio version of the paper on a USB drive, in a wallet through the post.
The whole process involves volunteer editors, reading teams, sound recording engineers, duplicating teams and the ‘Thursday Teams’ who process the return of the wallets ready for the next week.
Chairman Diane Hayes first became involved in the MADTNA as a member of Holyport WI in the late 1980s when she and some other WI members formed a reading team.
Diane said: “It’s a lifeline for most of them because without having this audio version of the Advertiser they would find it very difficult to keep abreast of what’s going on in and around the town.”
She explained that the biggest outgoing of the association is the rent of the room in St Mark’s Crescent Methodist Church in Allenby Road, where the wallets are processed and stored. This costs just under £1,000 a year.
Diane said: “It’s vital we have somewhere we can do this because it’s not practical to do it in people’s homes because it’s different volunteers each time.”
She added: “It is vital that we have this source, and knowing that in the background we have the Advertiser to call on if we need to is really what helps to keep the service going.”
People can also find out what is happening all over the world by listening to the association’s monthly magazine – made up of articles ‘which people might find interesting or amusing’.
Christine Aspey suffers from central vision loss due to macular degeneration, she says the talking newspaper is ‘a weekly pleasure to look forward to’. She added: “It makes you feel that you are still a part of your local community. I so much appreciate the dedication and time commitment the teams of volunteer readers contribute to making this meaningful service possible.”
She added: “As there is no charge to users for the talking newspaper, we must always be grateful to those individuals and organisations who give so generously to fund the association.”
To volunteer in any of the MADTNA roles call 01628 631259.
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