South Lakes Talking Newspaper will continue services during lockdown

A VITAL service, which helps to keep those with sight loss informed, will still be available during lockdown, although with a reduced format.

South Lakes Talking Newspaper Association provides an edited recorded version of the Westmorland Gazette to listeners, who are either blind or partially sighted, throughout the local area.

The service had only just resumed normal service after the first lockdown, before being once again affected by the second.

Usually recording every Thursday and Wednesday at Stricklandgate Church, the association will again be conducting a Zoom service during this lockdown, after Stricklandgate had to close in line with Covid-19 regulations.

“The Thursday recording is the current news from the day of publication and it is followed by a Wednesday recording of magazine style articles from the previous week,” said Dawn Bonham, chair of South Lakes Talking Newspaper Association.

“These are then copied onto a memory stick and then sent out.”

Ms Bonham spoke of how important the service is to listeners, and how crucial the help of Sight Advice South Lakes was in creating a new lockdown format.

“As we went into the first lockdown we had to suspend our service which was hugely missed,” she said.

“The daughter of one of our listeners who would take in a stick to her Mum every week called and said that it was her Mum’s lifeline to the world.

“We came up with an interim but slightly reduced service, in that a few of our editors produced a short version script and with the help of Sight Advice who hosted a Zoom meeting we were able to produce something that got uploaded to our website.

“Amy Pearman and Tim Ward at Sight Advice were instrumental in making this happen.

“We did this for all the weeks of the first lockdown and we had just got started again at the end of October when we had to go into the second lockdown.

“We had started to get things running smoothly and the Church had to shut again and we had to suspend our service again.”

Ms Bonham says she hopes the service will be able to resume normally from December 3.

The Westmorland Gazette | News