Charity (no. 287670)
MID DEVON MESSENGER
"To supply local audio news to those with sight loss or other conditions which make reading difficult"
The Mid Devon Messenger, with its local talking news and entertainment, has been in operation for over 40 years. The service is delivered by a band of approximately 50 volunteers. We send weekly audio news, and so much more, to people with sight loss or other conditions which make reading difficult. The news is predominantly taken from the local papers, and supplemented with articles from other sources. The wide range of material includes a weekly quiz, music, book reviews, interviews, and more. Listeners with visual impairment receive the recordings by memory stick, which are sent out in a wallet with a reversible address label. An MP3 player can be provided if required. The Mid Devon Messenger can be accessed via the internet or smartphone by others with conditions that make reading difficult. The service is entirely FREE of charge. We also produce four seasonal magazines per year. Our service is provided across the Mid Devon region, and may be extended to those who have moved out of area but who continue to consider Mid Devon to be their home.
Our objective is to enable our listeners to remain in contact with and participate in their local community. Listeners come from a variety of sources: some are referred by professionals, others by friends or family, and some contact us directly. After an initial phone conversation, arrangements can be made for a home visit to talk about the service and demonstrate the player. During this meeting it is often possible to suggest other avenues that may be of interest to the listener.
Jo Shute, a listener and Chair of the Tiverton Club for Visually Impaired People, said “The Mid Devon Messenger is like a friend arriving on my doorstep every Thursday with news, views and useful information, which helps me keep in touch with my local community in spite of my sight loss."
The Mid Devon Messenger is recorded in our Studio in Tiverton every Tuesday evening. There are six recording teams, comprising a Team Leader, three Readers and a Producer/Recording Technician. The Team Leaders and Readers read once every 6 weeks, and the Technicians record every 4 weeks. In addition we have Copiers and Dispatchers. Full training and support is given to all volunteers.
From time to time we need volunteers in particular roles. For example, we are currently looking for someone to help with managing a library of potential articles and features, a magazine compiler, and a producer. If you are interested, contact [email protected]
We are a very friendly team and our volunteers enjoy and appreciate being able to contribute in this way.
We responded positively to the challenges of COVID19, providing the service throughout the pandemic by switching to home recording. All listeners were contacted personally and offered a volunteer-led telephone befriending service. This has been extremely well received, one listener commenting "The weekly phone calls are a real pick-me-up - like a glass of good wine!"
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