Sid Vale and East Devon Talking Newspaper saved after fears it would closed raised

The soon-to-be new co-registrar Wendy Eagles with Marilyn and Haydn Thomas, who will take on the cha

The soon-to-be new co-registrar Wendy Eagles with Marilyn and Haydn Thomas, who will take on the chairman and co-ordinating editor roles with Flo Townsend – the current acting chair and co-ordinating editor. - Credit: Archant

Volunteers have stepped up to save the Sid Vale and East Devon Talking Newspaper, after fears were raised that it would have to close.

More than 40 people attended an extraordinary meeting, which was held about the future of the paper on Tuesday.

Acting chairman and co-ordinating editor Flo Townsend announced that she and two other colleagues, which included the paper’s treasurer and registrar, would be retiring at the end of March.

She said the organisation was also in desperate need of a chairman, which they had been coping without for around five years. They also need another editor.

The group was told that if no- one could step forward to fill the roles by the end of February, they would have to consider closing the paper down.

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Flo said the number of people wanting the talking newspaper had dramatically fallen, especially in the last five years.

She added that 20 years ago they delivered around 250 to 300 recordings a week, but now it was more like 50 a week.

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During the meeting, volunteers discussed whether there was still a need for the paper, which helps keep people with visual impairments up-to-date with the latest news and goings-on in their area.

Flo said: “Perhaps there isn’t the same need as there was.

“Technology is so good now and it has really enhanced what people with limited sight can do.

“But there is still a group of people who cannot access that technology and struggle with it and why should they have to?

“While they are still around there is a need for this paper.”

By the end of the meeting, four volunteers had stepped forward to fill four of five roles.

Haydn and Marilyn Thomas stepped up to take on the rolls of chairman and co-ordinating editor, while Wendy Eagles agreed to be a co-registrar and Mike Newman agreed to be the new treasurer.

The talking newspaper is still in need of an editor and asked anyone who could spare some time to consider taking on the roll.

Email or call 01395 578420 if you are interested in giving a few hours a week to the cause or to find out more.

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