Delivering the news by phone

19:50, Jun 10 2014
timaru news phone colin scarsbrook
SPEAKING THE NEWS: Blind Foundation volunteer Colin Scarsbrook records the Herald for vision impaired people to listen to via the telephone.

The Timaru Herald is delivered in a variety of formats in this modern age, but not many people will realise one method is by telephone.

Every day in South Canterbury, Blind Foundation volunteers record the newspaper via telephone.

Volunteer Colin Scarsbrook is one of the organisers for this activity, and has read for the vision impaired for the past 10 years.

"It's simple, I get up and bring in my paper then I get back into bed. There are not many volunteer jobs you can do lying in bed and bring so much pleasure to so many people."

He said there were 18 volunteers in South Canterbury who take turns recording different sections of the paper.

Scarsbrook said he is one of about four who had been volunteering for the organisation since the inception of the service in South Canterbury.


He said the volunteers had three roles which needed to be fulfilled.

One read births, deaths and marriages, another local news and the editorial, and a third read letters to the editor, he said.

"Not many letters to the editor at the moment. Are people not writing as much as they used to?

He understood that 23 people accessed the paper by the telephone information system (TIS).

"One person reading affects 23 people. "Isn't that great," he said.

Scarsbrook said they can access TIS at all times of the day.

He said there was not much training required to be a volunteer, he had taken a couple of ladies through the process over the phone and had not even met them.

Scarsbrook said he really enjoyed being able to provide the service to those who could not see.

"God hope neither you nor I can't ever read the newspaper," he said.

The Timaru Herald