Talking newspapers for blind and visually impaired people in Oxford & district

Oxtalk Chair’s annual report 2011

October 31, 2011

Please click the link to download the Chair’s Annual Report 2011. This was presented by Margaret Simpson at the Oxtalk Autumn meeting, which took place at Barton Community Centre on Thursday 27th October 2011. The complete text of the report is also included below:

Good evening ladies and gentlemen.

It is pleasing to see many OXTALK listeners, volunteers, and friends attending this meeting. I am pleased to welcome Patrick and Dione Lawrence, Patrick as many of you know is a past Chairman. Neil Stockton, the Chairman of Radio Cherwell has joined us. I will take this opportunity to say thank you yet again Neil for the generous use you allow OXTALK to make of the Radio Cherwell Studios. Richard Leader has joined us this evening from the Witney TN and Barry Reeves and Kay Sentance from ARTWASH. Barry will be updating the meeting about the progress ARTWASH has made during the year.

PROGRESS is THE word I attach to OXTALK for this past year. On Tuesday 7 June OXTALK went totally digital. A momentous event which had been planned and prepared for, for many, many months. A group of OXTALK volunteers became digital trainers, Anne Ambler, Mandy Wood, Lesley Court, Rosemary Shurgold, Christine Hockley, Ray Anson Colin Taylor, Trevor Miles and myself. This group of volunteers visited all the listeners and continue to visit the new referrals, so that every listener became the owner of a Sound Orb player and knew how to use the machine with the flash drives that they now receive on a weekly basis. My thanks to every one of these volunteers who spent on average an hour a visit with each listener. The positive outcome of this change, from cassettes to digital news recordings, is as listeners tell us ‘a much improved weekly news recording with high quality sound and clarity.’ Hearing this helps make all the time spent and the frustrations of the TOs, who couldn’t wait for the changeover to take place, fade into oblivion. Will flash drives be the preferred way of recording the talking news for the next 30 plus years?

To accompany the change in service delivery it was necessary to produce a new OXTALK leaflet which informs the public about how OXTALK now produces the talking newspaper service, with information and contact details for applying to receive the weekly talking news or to be a volunteer. I am very grateful to Trevor Miles, who has a son, who lives next to a publisher, David Baker, of  Magenta Marketing Services, who generously offered to sponsor and support OXTALK by printing them for us. This generosity is very much appreciated. I also appreciate the time given by Ray, Mandy and Colin in producing the new layout and text for the leaflet and Hilary Beaton who was OXTALK’s ‘official’ photographer. I had hoped to be launching this new leaflet this evening but that pleasure will have to wait to a later date.

OXTALK did not need to fundraise during this year as we had sufficient funds in the accounts to pay for the Sound Orbs and the flash drives. Some listeners did make a donation towards the cost of their Sound Orb.

New listeners are referred to OXTALK, in the main, from the Sensory Impairment Team. Listeners do refer new listeners and people can read about OXTALK on the website, which is managed for us by Hilary Beaton.

OXTALK has maintained its links with the other County TN through the bi-yearly meetings, which have proved to be useful.

During the year OXTALK was approached by the Church of England’s Editor of their talking newspaper ‘DOOR’ for advice on setting up an Oxford TN services for their members. Oxfordshire Association for the Blind have asked us to consider extending OXTALK’s service to visually impaired people living in Thame. The Committee consider this to be feasible and so this could be a future development. By promoting OXTALK the service is being used more and more by statutory and voluntary organisations to inform the listeners of changes in legislation and service provision. The Oxford GPs involved in the NHS changes in health provision for the future are interested in using the talking newspaper as a means of informing their visual impaired patients, who may not know of the changes if they do not attend the public meetings.

Tomorrow Mandy, Margaret and I will be meeting to organise next year’s rotas. I am pleased to say there will be only a few changes in 2012. One name which will not appear on next year’s lists will be that of Adeline Stunnell. Adeline has been a Copier for exactly 20 years and so we say a very grateful ‘thank you to Adeline’ for all her years of very reliable service. Dave Holmes, a listener representative on the Committee is resigning from the Committee, thank you Dave for your support through-out the year.

Through-out the year I have received much appreciated support from Committee Members, especially when I was out of action when Anne Ambler and Lesley Court stepped in and did the work I otherwise should have done. Thank you to both of you and all the members of the Committee.

This coming year should be one of fewer changes and more a case of settling into the new regime. I wish OXTALK another successful year.   Thank you.

Margaret A Simpson CHAIR of OXTALK                       27October 2011

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