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Talking newspaper provides vital link for listeners aged over 90

PUBLISHED: 14:41 30 September 2020 | UPDATED: 14:41 30 September 2020

Volunteers at Chatterbox, the Norwich Talking Newspaper, recording its 2,000th edition in 2018.
 Picture: Sonya Duncan

Volunteers at Chatterbox, the Norwich Talking Newspaper, recording its 2,000th edition in 2018. Picture: Sonya Duncan

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A third of users of a service that brings local news to the visually impaired are aged over 90, a survey of its listeners has found.

Talking newspaper Chatterbox has been producing a podcast to ensure that blind and visually impaired people still have access to news during coronavirus. Picture: Bethany WalesTalking newspaper Chatterbox has been producing a podcast to ensure that blind and visually impaired people still have access to news during coronavirus. Picture: Bethany Wales

Chatterbox, the volunteer-run Norwich talking newspaper, found 85pc of listeners are in their 70s, 70pc are over 80, while 69 of the listeners included in the survey were over 90, the oldest was 103.

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Among them is Bessie Bremner, 96, who has been using it for 12 years since her sight deteriorated. She said the service had been even more important since coronavirus had limited contact with the outside world.

MORE: Book club for visually-impaired literature lovers shifts online

The pandemic has meant the service has launched a weekly podcast version as well as continuing to deliver its audio news round-up on memory sticks where possible.

The charity’s 100 volunteers have been putting together a recording of highlights from the Norwich Evening News every week for over 42 years.

Another listener, who has just reached 100, said she is often able to tell her family about news that was unknown to them.


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