Oxtalk’s AGM, held on Saturday 16th October 2021, was a very well attended Zoom meeting. An audio recording of the AGM is available on request. The meeting was followed by a very interesting talk from Martin Harris, local Oxford Historian. The Chair’s Annual Report is also included as a pdf Oxtalk Chair’s 2021 Report. Many thanks to all!
Margaret A Simpson
To help promote Volunteering Day, OCVA have generously included a feature about Oxtalk on their website. You can access the article directly using the following link:
The Oxtalk Autumn Meeting and AGM was held on Saturday 13th October. The Chair’s report is included as a pdf file here.
We were delighted to welcome Nathan Tree, Advice Worker at OAB, who gave a most enjoyable talk to our members. Nathan was accompanied by his guide dog Maisie and his mum.
Afternoon tea was prepared by members of the Committee, and the photographs below were taken by Pete West. Many thanks to all!
Oxtalk has been selected to receive a donation from Cala Homes, Chiltern. With this generous donation of £1550.00 Oxtalk plans to buy a new Duplicator/Copier. Very many grateful thanks to Cala Homes, Chiltern – thank you.
Oxtalk was shortlisted for the ‘Working Together Award’, as we were last year. Imagine my amazement and immediate pride and joy when it was announced that Oxtalk working with OAB had been selected as the overall winner of the ‘Working Together Award 2018’. Thank you to all Oxtalk volunteers for supporting and helping Oxtalk gain this recognition. Many thanks.
Margaret, Chair of Oxtalk
On Thursday 30th November at the North Oxford Community Centre in Summertown, Oxtalk’s Anne Ambler gave a talk about the work of the Oxford & District Talking News to the Macular Society’s Oxford Support Group. Many thanks to all those who attended. Any organisation wishing to arrange a similar talk, in return for a small donation to our funds, please email us at email@example.com.
The Oxtalk Autumn Meeting and AGM was held on Saturday 2 October. The Treasurer’s Report was agreed and accepted and the Committee were re-elected. The Chair’s report is included here.
Following the AGM Ana Navakovic, assisted by Guy Lawfull, gave a very interesting talk about her work as an Audio Describer, mainly in live theatre and usually at Oxford Playhouse. The Autumn Meeting concluded with a very enjoyable afternoon tea prepared by Committee members.
Oxford Round Table Chairman, Stuart Langston and members presented Oxtalk with a cheque for £1250 on Tuesday 11 July, 2017.
Margaret Simpson, Oxtalk Chair said, “This very generous donation will make such a difference as it will enable us to buy some new audio players for future listeners. Oxford Round Table support means a lot to us and we are very grateful for this support and thank them very much. Thank you never sounds enough!”
After the presentation, which took place at Oxfordshire Association for the Blind, the Oxford Round Tablers stayed to sit in on the weekly Oxtalk recording.
A bit of local publicity for Oxtalk, thanks to Radio Oxford! Sheila Gregory, an Oxtalk listener and Margaret Simpson, Chair of Oxtalk were interviewed by Al Ryan for the Radio Oxford Volunteer slot on the Sunday 10 September early morning programme. If you missed the radio broadcast you can listen to the interview online via this direct link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05dlp0p#playt=02h26m50s
On Friday 1 September 2017 9 Oxtalk volunteers spent the day at ASDA, Wheatley, collecting from the generous ASDA shoppers as well as making them aware of Oxtalk by chatting to them and handing out Oxtalk leaflets. Thank you to ASDA for allocating Oxtalk this opportunity, thanks to the Oxtalk volunteers and a big thank you to ASDA shoppers who contributed to the £316.30 donated. Margaret
Oxtalk has a new theme tune! FAT PIG TANGO was composed by Chad Clark, who also sings the song and plays the harmonica. Chad is very generously allowing Oxtalk to use this track as its theme tune, and sections of the music will be played at the start and end of the weekly Oxtalk recording from 25th October onwards. Chad has been a Technical Officer for Oxtalk for over 5 years now, helping to produce the weekly Oxtalk Talking Newspaper for listeners who are visually impaired. We hope you enjoy the new music and will soon find your feet tapping!
More of Chad’s music can be heard on his own website: www.misterchad.com/harp.htm
Many thanks to Craig Punfield from That’s Oxfordshire (Freeview TV channel 7) who recently paid Oxtalk a visit to find out more about the Talking News service and to film some of our hard-working volunteers in action. Below is the resulting 3 minute long video report which was first aired on That’s Oxfordshire at the beginning of August.
We have worked through the first 16 weeks of recording since the re-launch of Oxtalk on Tuesday 12 May 2015 at OAB. Overall it has been a successful 4 months which is thanks to you and OAB.
Because we are now recording and copying on the same night, this meant changes for quite a few people and I thank those who made the changes.
Technical Officers – the TOs are the people who have had to make the new equipment work and there have been ‘hiccups’ but these have not stopped there being a weekly recording. Thank you TOs for working so hard and producing such good quality recordings.
Readers – a replacement Reader has been found when necessary and there have always been 3 Readers on every Tuesday night. Copiers have appreciated the help given by the Readers in filling the pouches.
Copiers – we started with just 1 Copier per Tuesday night but as the listener numbers increased, plus having to produce address cards for the new listeners on a Tuesday night, it was agreed that there needed to be 2 Copiers every Tuesday. There will be 2 Copiers for every Tuesday night in the next Rota. Thank you to everyone for doing extra nights.
News Editors – there have been new combinations during the last 4 months and there are new News Editors in the next 16 weeks.
I am hopeful the next 16 weeks ‘productions’ up to Christmas will be well received by the listeners. Listeners are so pleased to be receiving Oxtalk again and we do hear from various listeners from time to time.
So once again my thanks to everyone. I will not be seeing you as frequently in the future.
Very many thanks. Here’s to the next 16 weeks – and then it will be Christmas!!!
Margaret A Simpson
31 August 2015
Please click the link to download a copy of the Chair’s Report for 2015 . This was presented by Margaret Simpson at the Autumn meeting, which took place on Saturday 17th October. The complete text of the report is included below:
Chair’s Report to the Annual General Meeting 2015
Welcome to the 2015 Oxtalk Autumn Meeting.
I am pleased so many listeners are attending and ‘thank you’ to the volunteer drivers for being their ‘chauffeurs’.
This has been an interesting year to say the least and one which I hope will never be repeated – certainly not whilst I am involved with Oxtalk.
I am not one to dwell in the past but I appreciate I have to report the year’s events for this official report.
I mentioned at last year’s AGM the possibility that Radio Cherwell and Oxtalk would have leave the Churchill Hospital site – OUHT wanted the land for a development opportunity. Thank you to those of you who, following the meeting, gave me the contacts for possible alternative organisations which had recording equipment and/or recording studios. All these were followed up.
OUHT did give Radio Cherwell notice to quit by the end of February 2015 and Neil Stockton gave Oxtalk notice to quit by 21 January 2015 , which we did – thank you to all the people who helped to clear out Oxtalk’s accumulated property, some of which is still being held in various peoples’ homes, rent free!
The last recording at Radio Cherwell was on 20 January and the last copying session on 21 January. Oxtalk was then silent until the relaunch on Tuesday 12 May. In the short time available the Committee checked out possible alternative sites and the discussions with Oxfordshire for the Blind [OAB] were proving to be the most promising. So in the intervening 4 months a decision was made to accept OAB’s Trustees offer for Oxtalk to be based at Bradbury Lodge, one night a week. To comply with OAB’s Insurer’s requirements their staff and Trustees had to agree to either a member of staff or a Trustee being on duty each week. This they very generously agreed to.
As you will appreciate many things were going on in parallel:-
Oxtalk restarted with a number of new listeners and has now been back in production for 6 months. I know listeners appreciate receiving the weekly news again as they let me know from time to time. In these 6 months the number of listeners has fluctuated as some no longer receive Oxtalk.
I have been told that Oxtalk should have stayed with Radio Cherwell as they are still in the old building but we had no choice. Many volunteers have told me they really appreciate being at OAB, being in a warm comfortable building, being made to feel welcome and just this last week Caroline Ludden of OAB told me that she had received a similar message on OAB’s facebook page and this pleased OAB. It pleases me too that 1 of Oxtalk’s volunteers sent this unsolicited positive message to Colin and his staff, a message that will no doubt be passed on to the Trustees.
Oxtalk are making a small contribution towards the utilities that are used on a Tuesday night.
Those of you who attend other groups and clubs could suggest they ask Anne Ambler to give a talk about Oxtalk. You know about Oxtalk but perhaps not everyone at your club does.
I am very confident that Oxtalk’s future is secure with the new partnership now established with OAB. Both organisations have a common purpose. We have a strong, reliable and supportive group of volunteers producing a weekly talking newspaper enjoyed by the listeners who receive it.
During these last few months I have been supported by an excellent group of Committee members and I appreciate the support given to me. My thanks to you.
I close by wishing Oxtalk a very positive, successful and calm 12 months.
Margaret A Simpson
Chair – Oxtalk
16 October 2015
2015 OXTALK’s Future Arrangements
[This information has been sent out to all OXTALK volunteers.]
Dear OXTALK Volunteer,
In my last email I told you that the last recording of OXTALK Talking Newspaper from the Radio Cherwell recording studio will be on Tuesday 20 January 2015 and the last copying session will be on Wednesday 21 January 2015. After which we will remove all OXTALK’s equipment and bid farewell to OXTALK’s very supportive partner of over 30 years, Neil Stockton – Chairman of Radio Cherwell and Radio Cherwell’s volunteers.
I will inform the listeners of the ‘break in service’ as part of Tuesday night’s recording on 20 JANUARY 2015.
I am very pleased to be able to tell you that just this week at the Oxfordshire Association for the Blind Trustees’ Meeting, the Trustees agreed to offer OXTALK the use of OAB’s premises one night a week – a Tuesday night. Both the OXTALK Committee and the OAB Trustees and staff look forward to developing this new partnership to the benefit of our client group and service users. Colin Cure, Director of OAB, has been very supportive throughout all the discussions. The final details have to be agreed but I can inform you that OAB Trustees are allowing OXTALK to use the premises rent free. OXTALK will make a contribution to the evening’s heating and lighting costs.
We are immensely appreciative of this generous offer. It does mean we can now start the preparations to organise the re-launch of OXTALK.
In future recording and copying will be on the same night – a Tuesday night. This will obviously be okay for the Editors, TOs and Readers. I appreciate this may a pose a problem for some of the Copiers, so I am attaching a questionnaire which I ask everyone to complete and return the questionnaire to me as soon as possible and no later than Saturday 7 February 2015.
Oxfordshire Association for the Blind [OAB] is located at the end of Abingdon Road- on the old Rivermeade Hospital site and opposite the Park & Ride. The address is:-
Bradbury Lodge, Gordon Woodward Way, Oxford OX1 4XL
Tel. 01865 725595
If you visit the website you may find you recognise the building in the photographs.
There is plenty of private and on-road car parking. There is a bus stop on the Abingdon Road just a short walk from OAB.
Â What needs to be done before we can re-launch.
We are hoping to have OXTALK back in production by Easter at the very latest. Earlier if everything goes smoothly!
I look forward to your continued support for OXTALK.
Margaret A Simpson
Chair of OXTALK
16 January 2015
We are pleased to share with you the latest OAB newsletter which is now available online at:
Please click to download a copy of the OXTALK Chair’s Report 2014 . This was presented by Margaret Simpson at the Autumn meeting, which took place on Saturday 25th October. The complete text of the report is included below:
OXTALK AUTUMN MEETING – 25 OCTOBER 2014
CHAIR’S REPORT TO THE AGM
Good afternoon and welcome to this Saturday afternoon Autumn Meeting.
We, the Committee, thought we would hold this year’s meeting at this time in the hope that it was a more attractive time for listeners and volunteers. We are delighted 13 listeners have been able to attend, many more than have attended previous meetings for very many years. So thank you to everyone who is here. We will be very pleased to hear your comments about the afternoon.
The procedures for the referral of new listeners has remained the same with the Oxfordshire County Council’s Visual Impairment Team referring the majority of new listeners regularly through-out the year. This is followed by the small team of OXTALK trainers making home visits. At the home visit the trainer takes one of the BOOMBOX Plus players, this is both a radio and digital player and has been very well received by all who are now using it. Before deciding which player to buy this year we asked Margaret Brinkhurst and Irene Read for their opinions. Margaret and Irene are themselves visually impaired and Committee members. It was on their recommendations that the BoomBox Plus was purchased. Thanks to them for this advice and thank you to the trainers. Many of the younger people referred decide to listen on-line or use whatever digital player they have already. We post out on average 90 memory sticks a week and despite receiving Google Analytics Reports we are not able to find out how many people do listen on-line.
There was another Ashmolean touch tour during the year. Thank you to the volunteer drivers who drove listeners to and from the Ashmolean and thank you to the volunteers who have driven some of the listeners to this meeting – and hopefully they will drive you home again!!
During 2014 Anne and Geoff Ambler spent many a jolly hour completing grant application forms and organising fund raising events. Their hard work has been successful and as you heard from Geoff OXTALK is financially sound for the next year. Thank you to Anne and Geoff.
As many of you will be aware OUHT have decided, that the building RC has used for many years as the home for Oxford Hospital Radio Station, has to close. This has also been the recording and copying base for OXTALK too. [If NS is present ask if he wishes to say anything.] RC have been in negotiations with OUHT for most of the year, the building was going to be taken out of use by OUHT first at the end of June and then the end of September and as of today I cannot let you know when OUHT may close the building. RC has now been offered an alternative building – The Old Gatehouse on the Churchill site. This building is a quarter the size of the current building, is in a very dilapidated state and needs £75,000 spending on it to make it fit for purpose. RC has to find this money and so are desperately fund raising as the money has to be raised as quickly as possible – not an easy task. Because of the reduction in size there will be only 1 recording studio which RC anticipate they will be using every night. It is therefore very probable that OXTALK will have to find a new recording and copying base. A change of venue is going to affect all OXTALK volunteers and I will be liaising with the volunteers in the very near future. If and when OXTALK has to move to new premises then there very probably will be a period of time when we will not be able to produce OXTALK. Hopefully we will have time to let listeners know that OXTALK is going ‘off air’ and for approximately how long. Please be assured we will keep it as short a time as is possible.
At this time of the year I ask all the volunteers if they are available for the next year – 2015. At the end of 2014 5 Copiers are leaving and 6 Readers. I have been able to replace 5 Readers but as yet none of the Copiers. But we have until the end of this year to find replacements and I say we because I am asking you to speak to your friends and family to ask if anyone is interested in joining us. In the Summer Larry Sider joined as a TO, so there are 5 TOs and 1 Reserve TO. Without TOs there would be no OXTALK. Of the 11 volunteers we are saying “thank you and good bye to” some have been connected with OXTALK for many years, Carol Aistrop, Sue and Tamsin Morris and Margaret Croucher. Carol Aistrop in particular is some whose name will be known to you.
At the beginning of September Muriel Wittrick died and for those listeners and volunteers who were involved over 30 years ago you will know that Muriel and Keith Wittrick were the founder members and the driving force in establishing OXTALK. With the anticipated changes to the Recording Studio for RC and therefore the resulting changes for OXTALK, 2015 is going to be the start of a new phase for OXTALK.
Not only do we say “thank you” to the people who are leaving I say “thank you” to all the volunteers who support OXTALK, because without their continuing support there would be no OXTALK. So much goes on unseen and at the AGM I can publically thank the Committee members for their willingness to give the extra that is required. Thank you.
You will be able to say “thank you” yourselves as some of the Committee Members have taken part in the OXTALK bake-off to produce the refreshments we will shortly be enjoying!
Thank you for coming. Please be patient with any ‘break in service’ that might occur in 2015 and remember to change your clocks and watches when you go home tonight – we gain an extra hour tomorrow!
Margaret A Simpson
25 October 2014
DO YOU WONDER WHAT TO DO WITH THOSE FEW SPARE HOURS?
You could use some each month to help produce
THE OXFORD AND DISTRICT TALKING NEWSPAPER
which is distributed to people with a visual impairment. Many of our blind
listeners cannot read any of the local newspaper and rely on OXTALK to
keep them informed of what is happening in their local Oxford and District
â€¢ PEOPLE TO SELECT THE NEWS ITEMS â€“EDITORS
â€¢ PEOPLE TO READ THE NEWS ITEMS â€“ READERS
â€¢ PEOPLE TO HELP COPY THE DIGITAL RECORDING â€“ COPIERS
To find out more contact firstname.lastname@example.org
OXTALK HAS BEEN PROVIDING THIS SERVICE FOR OVER 34 YEARS AND
WANTS TO CONTINUE PROVIDING THIS MUCH NEEDED SERVICE TO
VISUALLY IMPAIRED AND BLIND PEOPLE IN THE OXFORD AREA.
We look forward to hearing from you.
On Wednesday 26th March Oxtalk’s Vice Chair, Anne Ambler, gave a talk about the work of Oxtalk to the Headington Wives Club at the Coach House in Headington Quarry, Oxford. There were about 25 members present. A donation towards the running costs of Oxtalk was gratefully received.
Any organisation wishing to arrange a similar talk can contact Anne on 01865 872628 or email email@example.com.