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bringing Local News to the Blind and Visually Impaired

How our service works

The Newspaper

Help News stories are selected from local newspapers such as The News, Portsmouth and Hayling Islander by teams of Editors. Producers then arrange the articles into audio scripts for the readers. In our purpose-designed recording suite in our office at East Street in Havant, sound Engineers record the readers’ voices which you can hear in your own homes thanks to the Distribution teams who send out and receive back audio-cassettes or memory sticks.
Readers at their mikes An interview recording session The readers group is made of men and ladies with one Presenter for each edition, and three Readers of alternating gender so that there is a clear voice break between articles recorded. Reading is one of the most popular and sought after jobs for the volunteers and applicants are auditioned when vacancies occur. And, of course, everyone taking part in a recording session is named in the introduction by the Presenter so Readers have a minor feeling of being in show business!
Our recording sessions for the Talking News normally take place on Tuesday evenings. The Distribution Teams then come into the studio the following day to duplicate the master memory stick and tape. They put the appropriate recorded media into a a blue 'Articles for the Blind' pouch according to the listeners' preference and label the pouches ready for posting. The pouches go out 'en masse' and are usually delivered with normal mail on Thursday or Friday. When a Listener has finished with the recording, he or she just pops it back in the pouch with their address label inside and posts it back to us. No postage is required.

The Magazine 'Look Here'

'Look Here' is the magazine of HBTN and is produced three or four times a year. It usually lasts about an hour, and has a magazine format. Each edition is made up of a variety of articles, much like a printed magazine. Some of these are written by a small team of contributors, but we also use articles written for other magazines - with their permission of course. This longer duration gives us the opportunity to explore a wider range of topics.
We aim to provide a magazine which will have something of interest to everyone. For example, regular features include a 'What's on Guide' to events in our area; a quiz, and restaurant reviews. From time to time we review books, shows, local attractions and exhibitions. The magazine is also an opportunity to pass on information and advice for people with sight loss. We often interview local people with a story to tell, or an interest to share. Recently we interviewed one of our listeners, Yvonne Newman, who was an opera singer with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company. She now lives locally and was able to recount experiences from her exciting career. We are keen to recruit people who want to write or be involved in the production of the magazine.
Do please contact us if you would like to get involved.

Other Publications and the Boombox

The studio is also used for recording publications for other organisations in return for a charitable contribution to our funds. In the past we have recorded an audio edition of Flagship, the Portsmouth Council's quarterly publication, and currently, we record audio editions of the Guinness Hermitage Housing Association's quarterly publication Today for their visually impaired tenants. These go all over the country, not just within the Havant area.

New Boombox package contents New Boombox top New Boombox back New Boombox front

We also supply a 'Boombox' (a device for playing back USB memory sticks) for the listeners at nominal cost to them where they have no other means of playing back the audio. These are purpose-designed for the blind or visually impaired, with easy to use controls, large tactile buttons, prominent on/off volume dial and a minimum of complication. They contain a rechargeable battery so can be used away from a mains supply. The 'boombox' package contains the base unit and power lead/USB battery charger, as shown in the images.

Our listener-base is quite wide but primarily covers the towns and villages in the Borough of Havant such as Bedhampton, Brockhampton, Cowplain, Denvilles, Emsworth, Havant, Hayling Island, Langstone, Leigh Park, Purbrook, Southleigh, Stakes, Stockheath, Warblington and Waterlooville. A map of the area and its Hampshire County Council Ward boundaries can be found in this pdf link.

Articles for the Blind delivery pouch One of HBTN’s distinctive pouches drops through the letterboxes of approximately 150 listeners every fortnight.

We would like it to be more! If you know of someone who might like to be one of them and avail themselves of this free postal service or are interested for yourself then please click here to contact us or download our brochure.

Click on the next page to listen to our current issues of HBTN or our quarterly magazine.

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