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Introducing Chatterbox EDP Norfolk magazine

PUBLISHED: 08:42 03 June 2013 | UPDATED: 08:42 03 June 2013

Chatterbox group at the NNAB.  Photo: Bill Smith

Chatterbox group at the NNAB. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2013

For me it began with a call to a long-time reader of EDP Norfolk magazine who had sadly decided to cancel her subscription. She explained that she was blind in one eye and had almost lost the sight in her other eye.

“I love my magazine, and what saddens me most about not being able to read it any more is that I was really looking forward to finding out how Susie Fowler-Watt gets on with her new baby,” she told me.

Susie and I spoke soon after to see if there was a way to record her much-loved monthly column from the magazine for this reader. Unbeknown to us, a similar germ of an idea was forming in the mind of two dynamic men working to build better lives for the county’s blind and visually impaired residents.

Brian Kerridge is chairman of Chatterbox, the Norwich-based talking newspaper which has been providing a weekly news update for its listeners using stories from the Evening News, since 1978. It also produces a monthly magazine for listeners plus a Christmas special.

Brian explains: “We are very fortunate enough to have our own premises, our own recording studio and are well managed with some 80 fabulous volunteers. But I really felt we could do so much more with all these wonderful assets at our fingertips.

“I went to see Max Marriner, the chief executive officer of the Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind (NNAB), to talk over some new ideas, and Archant (publishers of both the Evening News and EDP Norfolk magazine) came up in the conversation. We realised we had always taken Archant for granted and that we should come into the office in Norwich to thank you for all those years of helping Chatterbox and to see if we can do more together.”

Brian’s suggestion that Chatterbox work closely with EDP Norfolk magazine was warmly received. A team of volunteers has now been set up, under project co-ordinator Sarah Lusher and editor Liz Gill, to handle recording and producing the monthly version of EDP Norfolk magazine. The recording – which includes Susie Fowler-Watt reading her monthly column and a range of very talented readers – will be available to listeners not just in Norwich but around the whole county.

This is where the support of Max and the NNAB comes in. Brian says: “Initially we were going to deliver this to our listeners in Norwich, but this is an opportunity to spread it across all of Norfolk. I spoke to Max and he said that the NNAB would help. If anything made me think it was the right idea, it was Angi’s decisive action and Max Marriner’s responsiveness. He has 5,500 members and knows that there are many thousands more people around the county who could benefit from contact with his organisation.”

Max comments: “I certainly felt there was room for more collaborative working between us and also with the other newspapers for the blind across the county.”

And so the NNAB is now telling all its members about the new Chatterbox EDP Norfolk magazine. The project also hopes to establish a closer network between the 10 or so talking newspapers around Norfolk, who will each be offered a master copy of Chatterbox EDP Norfolk magazine each month for them to record and send to their own regular listeners.

And it will be a completely free service – like the talking newspapers for the blind, listeners will be sent each month’s recorded magazine in special wallets (Royal Mail bears the cost of this free delivery service). They can then enjoy the magazine at their leisure and return the recording in the pre-addressed wallet when they have finished.

Are you – or do you know – a blind or partially sighted person in the county who would like to receive Chatterbox EDP Norfolk Magazine free of charge each month? Contact the NNAB on 01603 629558 or email office@nnab.org.uk or write with the name and address to Chatterbox EDP Norfolk magazine, Petersen House, 240 King Street, Norwich, NR1 2TT.

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