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Chairman's Ramblings


Peloponnese and Our Talking News

Five weeks cycling in the Peloponnese. Five weeks of hills, mountains, valleys, rugged coastlines, winds, high temperatures and tired bodies. But there is more - stunning vistas, lush orange plantations, olive groves, ancient sights, aromas, warm evenings, sea-lapped taverns, Greek hospitality and not forgetting the unforgettable, the amazing blue of the Ionian and Aegean Seas. The memories will be cherished but, once the body had recovered, it´s the stunning vistas that remained in my mind the longest; whether they be of the mountains, the valleys, the coast, or of the villages - they were for the most part timeless.
The blue of the seas A downhill ride thank goodness! Our wheelie suitcases A bit of a corny introduction as a way of getting around to our local Talking News but it was at the end of this trip when we were having time out to recover (lying on the beach) and thoughts were becoming homeward bound that I realised that I had seen things that those who use our Talking News will either never see, or will never see again. For many the loss of sight brings down a curtain (no pun intended) on many of the things we take for granted and brings about an isolation that is hard to imagine. So for those of you that do not know what our Talking News does a little résumé. Quite simply the Havant Talking News provides to around 150 people in our area a fortnightly hour-long audio of local news articles, gleaned mainly from the Portsmouth News but also from other community publications. Also, there is a quarterly audio magazine of stories and articles. These are posted out to our ´Listeners´ on memory sticks and, once listened to, they are returned free of charge. A large number of our Listeners are elderly and the little ´Stick´ through the post keeps them up to date with local news, it means a lot to them, as many do feel isolated from the wider society. This product does not happen by magic and we have over 40 volunteers that give of their time to make it happen. Some of the ´time givers´ scour the papers to identify the stories and then tweak them for audio consumption. Producers stitch together a programme from these stories ready for a recording session at our fully equipped studio in East Street. Whilst on recording days a team of 4 Readers gives voice to the stories under the watchful ear of Engineers. There are other tasks but that is the nub of it. Naturally there is a cost and that cost is met by fund raising, there are no regular grants or subsidies for this service.

Now we come to the real reason for this article! I am after fundraisers. I wish to put together a fundraising team of 4 or 5 people to share the load and ideas. Monies are available out there but it takes a little effort to tease them out. Bottom line is that I am not asking for specialist skills but I am asking for your time. I cannot think of anything more important than your time. You will not be committing yourself to regular hours, time out for holidays and other exciting events are the norm - I have just done exactly that. If you have some time available and you would like to give something back to your community get in touch with us - and do it today rather than leaving it until tomorrow! We look forward to hearing from you!

Peter Loveridge