Talking newspaper expands service with help of hospital radio

The Voice of Progress (VOP), which has provided a '˜talking newspaper' service for visually-impaired for more than 40 years, has expanded to help provide coverage for hospital patients in Worthing and Shoreham.

Friday, 17th February 2017, 12:55 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 9:21 am
The Seaside Hospital Radio chairman Andy Wolage with presenter Gillian Fischer and Voice of Progress director Charles Waring

Fortnightly bulletins – incorporating reports from the Herald and Gazette – have been distributed to blind and partially-sighted people since 1975 and are produced at the VOP studios in Rustington.

Now, they are being incorporated into broadcasts by Seaside Hospital Radio, based at Southlands, Shoreham, which means patients, staff and visitors there, and at Worthing, will now be able to keep in touch with what’s going on in their local area.

The idea came up after a discussion between Seaside Radio chairman Andy Wolage and one of its presenters, Gillian Fischer, who is also a VOP reader, editor and magazine compiler, and the first broadcast went out in mid-January.

VOP director Charles Waring said: “I was approached and saw a real opportunity to expand our recordings to a broader public who would enjoy the news output that we provide for the blind and partially-sighted in our community.

“National and regional news is very easy to obtain, through the normal radio channels like the BBC, private broadcasters, the internet and social media, but local news is only available from our local newspapers.

“Sometimes, because of problems of being able to read newsprint, or for some other reason, our recordings are the only source of this news.

“We have found that in our visually-impaired community, many really look forward to our news recordings as for some this is the only contact they have with what is going on in their immediate area.

“The VOP is very proud as a talking newspaper to provide these recordings and now, along with Seaside Hospital Radio, we are delighted to be sharing our news output. We are also very grateful to the Herald and Gazette for enabling us to use their news content.”

VOP was among the earliest organisations to realise the importance of talking newspapers for visually-impaired in the community.

It was formed by members of Littlehampton Rotary Club in 1975, initially producing fortnightly editions of The Voice of Progress for Littlehampton, working out of their garages and garden sheds.

The VOP constitution states that the visually-impaired will receive recordings completely free of charge and this is only achieved thanks to the generous gifts, donations and bequests it receives.

The VOP broadcast by Seaside Hospital Radio is twice weekly at 10am, Sunday, and 5pm, Wednesday. You can listen either in Worthing and Southlands Hospitals or online wherever you are via


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