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COVID-19 Response

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Page Updated 15th April 2021

Following recent changes to government advice we are now able to meet to recording at the High Street Methodist Church in Witney.  This means that we will be able to record in better quality than we have been using the telephone but more importantly it means that we will be able to return to sending out USB sticks.  Tonight (15th April 2021) we will meet at the Church to make necessary preparations and the first “normal” edition will be 1860 – 22nd April 2021.

Social distancing arrangements still in place mean that we will still be restricted to just two readers for the time being.

As with all organisations we will be keeping our activities under constant review as we monitor the risks to both listeners and volunteers, and we may need to amend our service again if the guidance changes.  If we do have to remove our USB service, you will still be able to listen by telephoning 01993 555 986.  Calls from our catchment area to that number are charged the same as a local call.  In case we need to revert to the telephone option at short notice we will be keeping it running for the foreseeable future.

Page Updated 17th April 2020

Following government advice for high risk groups (people over 70 or with underlying medical conditions) and subsequent restrictions on gatherings and social distancing, there have had to be some changes in the way we produce and distribute Witney Talking News.  This page details the changes we have had to make and the reasons behind them.  We will keep it up-to-date as and when changes to the situation warrant it.

Many of the volunteers who produce Witney Talking News fall into these high risk groups and so it is with regret that the committee has decided to temporarily halt our weekly Thursday production meetings. This means that edition 1809 (19th March 2020) was the last “normal” edition for the time being.

We have a solution in place which is allowing us to record content remotely and we will continue to do this with shortened issues each week for as long as we can. Unfortunately because we cannot meet we cannot process memory sticks or pouches and so these recordings will be distributed through our online services and over a new telephone service which can be accessed on 01993 555 986. This is a local Witney number and is charged the same as a call to a neighbour.

The telephone service allows you to listen to the current edition and also the three previous ones if you need to catch up.  You can use your telephone keypad to decide which one you would like to hear.  If you can’t, or would prefer not to use the keypad then if you simply wait until the menu is finished the latest edition will play automatically.

If you are comfortable using the keys on your telephone then you may also skip forwards and backwards in the recording or pause it.  Press 0 at the main menu for full details of these advanced features.

If you don’t wish to use the telephone, you may listen online.  It may seem daunting at first but this works with the British Wireless for the Blind Sonata+ and Bumblebee devices, a tablet or smartphone with the British Wireless “Talking Newspaper” app or through a computer. If you don’t have these devices yourself maybe a friend or relative (maybe a grandchild) has a smartphone and can help you to hear WTN for the next few weeks. To use the app, just search for “Talking Newspaper” in the app store and after installing it you can find WTN labelled as “Witney Talking News latest edition” in the “South East” section.

Alternatively you can listen through Amazon Alexa if you, a friend or relative have access to one.  Full details of all online listening options, all the above plus our weekly email and podcast, can be found on the listen online page.

If you have a “Google Home” device then you can listen on that too by saying “OK Google, play the Witney Talking News podcast.

Rest assured we are keeping a close eye on things and as soon as the situation allows we will return to our normal process. We wish you all the best for the coming weeks.

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