Thirty years of talking news in Kenilworth

Volunteers and listeners of the Kenilworth Talking News with Kenilworth's mayor. Back row: Gerry Lawrence (Chairman) and John Denness (chief editor). Front row: Bob Beck with guide dog Fritz, Richard Bignell (Vice Chairman), Town mayor Cllr Richard Davies, and Marion Adcock with guide dog Cloud
Volunteers and listeners of the Kenilworth Talking News with Kenilworth's mayor. Back row: Gerry Lawrence (Chairman) and John Denness (chief editor). Front row: Bob Beck with guide dog Fritz, Richard Bignell (Vice Chairman), Town mayor Cllr Richard Davies, and Marion Adcock with guide dog Cloud
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A news service for the blind and visually impaired in Kenilworth recently celebrated its 30th anniversary at its annual lunch.

Volunteers at the Kenilworth Talking News marked the milestone at their annual lunch at St Francis of Assisi Church Hall on Friday February 24.

Around 73 volunteers and listeners attended on the day, along with town mayor Cllr Richard Davies.

Editor Jackie Jarvis said: “It was a very successful lunch - we had more listeners there than we’ve ever had before.

“It’s always a very sociable occasion and it’s great because we get a chance to talk to the listeners.

Kenilworth Talking News is free for all its users and comes out every fortnight, reporting on news from Kenilworth and the wider area, as well as magazine-style articles.

It started back in 1987 after an advert was placed in the KWN calling for the need of a talking news service for visually impaired people in the town.

Since then, the service has steadily grown, and it works closely with social services to identify new people who might want to use it.

The service is funded partly by donations, but a lot of the funds came from a deceased listener who decided to leave much of his wealth to the service after he died around 20 years ago.

Jackie, who has been with the Kenilworth Talking News from the very start, added: “I really, really enjoy it. I love the writing part of it, although the editing part of it is quite time consuming. It’s such a worthy cause as well.”

The group collates news items and records them in a studio at the top of Waverley Day Centre.

Until recently, Kenilworth Talking News recorded their editions onto cassette tapes, as there will still listeners who wanted to used them.

But due to the difficulty in buying tapes since the format became outdated, the service has switched to digital and now records the news onto memory sticks.

Jackie said the switch to digital has been ‘so much better’ for the service and its listeners due to its ease of use.

Looking forward, Jackie said the service was considering a rebrand since it incorporated South Warwickshire Talking News, and she said the service will try and keep going for as long as people need it.

She added: “We’ve often thought with medical advances that people’s need for us will diminish, but that hasn’t come about.”

Anyone wishing to use the service can contact the Kenilworth Talking News by calling 01926 853351 or emailing ktnkenilworth@hotmail.co.uk