Members of the Talking Newspaper pictured last year. From left, Elizabeth Harrison, Keith Leedell, Rachael Hay and Louise Smith. Picture: Ian Burt

The Talking Newspaper for King’s Lynn and West Norfolk has been forced to suspend operations indefinitely due to the coronavirus crisis.

The group records stories from local newspapers for blind and partially-sighted people to listen to at home each week.

The process normally involved five or six people working together in a room to record and edit, with two or three working later to pack and post USB memory sticks to around 120 subscribers.

But most of the volunteers are being forced to self-isolate due to their age or health conditions.

Chairman Keith Leedell said: “As many of the volunteers who run the talking newspaper are in the at risk category from the coronavirus the edition recorded on March 23 will be the last regular weekly edition.

“It involves quite a lot of people getting together, which is what we need to avoid.”

The edition posted out earlier this week will be the last for the foreseeable future, although the group is looking into alternative ways to produce the recordings.

“If you have serious impairment it’s the only news you get apart from the radio, and in some care homes you don’t have access to a radio,” said Mr Leedell.

“A lot of listeners live alone and isolation is a huge issue already. 

“This is going to have a big impact but all we can do is try to find a different method of recording.

“We are hoping to put together a monthly or fortnightly edition in the future with our volunteers recording from home.”

A possible option would see volunteers recording on Smartphones but it would mean an entirely new editing process being used.

The group hopes to have a newsletter online through its website in the near future with any updates on the service.

For updates see the group’s website at www.kingslynntn.co.uk