The Lichfield & District Talking Newspaper began production in November 1981 with important backing
from Lichfield Lions Club and also both the Rotary and Round Table groups that operated in Lichfield at that time, plus there
was support from local Councillors, such as Stan Smith, who was Mayor at the time. Both the Lions Club and Lichfield Rotary
St Chad have maintained close ties with the Talking Newspaper over the ensuing years and have regularly provided essential
Other organisations that have been important to
the Talking News include Lichfield Soroptimists and several of the local Women's Institutes who provide
ongoing support as well as funds.
In recent years
it has been the Trusts that operate in the city that have been vital to our survival and expansion, in particular the Mary
Slater Trust, Michael Lowe Charity, Conduit Lands Trust, Municipal Trust and Swinfen Broun charity.
We have also
received support from the Staffordshire Wellbeing Fund and this has helped us move forward and expand our services considerably.
Running costs have escalated in recent years but we have managed to keep at the
forefront of technology with the newspaper being issued now on memory sticks which hold vast amounts of digital listening.
This move to digital technology had an immediate and profound effect. Listeners are overjoyed,
to say the least, and the new service has become the talk of the Blind Clubs that meet throughout the region. We are therefore
expecting an explosion in demand over the next year or so. There are 1100 visually impaired people in Lichfield alone and
we reach only 400 of them. Growth in demand is running at 5 new listeners a week, at a cost of £60 per listener.
It is important to stress that no blind person is expected to pay a single penny towards this service.
We would rather people that can afford to pay be given it for free than to drive away those that cannot afford to subscribe.