True Island teamwork saves the day

As Coronavirus has gradually shut down Island services, Vectis Radio has stepped up to help Sight for Wight (also known as Isle of Wight Society for the Blind) to support Islanders with visual impairment (VI) and keep the charity’s Talking News alive.

For 44 years a dedicated team at Sight for Wight has produced a weekly recorded news programme to help Islanders stay up-to-date with local news, made possible by a team of volunteers, led by Terry Mitchell who dedicates hours of his time to ensure it reaches over 220 Islanders every week.

Sight for Wight staff also produce a quarterly newsletter available in large print, braille, audio and download formats, packed with information on activities, events and pertinent information for their visually impaired members.

The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown looked set to deprive members of a vital source of information on news, support and help at this difficult time. Many of their members don’t have any online access and this, therefore, is their only form of current news, but the lockdown meant volunteers were unable to come into the studio to record the programme. This is where Vectis Radio has stepped in and saved the day, using modern technology to enable staff, trustees and volunteers to record news items from the comfort and safety of their homes and send them using the internet. Articles and information from the Isle of Wight Observer and OnTheWight were then edited together by Sight for Wight’s Chris Cane, before being broadcast on Vectis Radio on Saturday at 3pm. The programme is available to listen to via Sight for Wight’s website.

Chris Cane, who is running this communication effort said, “We have been overwhelmed at the Island community coming together and I would like to say a huge thank you to Vectis Radio, alongside The Isle of Wight Observer, OnTheWight and the Isle of Wight County Press for giving their kind permission for us to read their stories.  This really has been a collaborative and community effort and it’s thanks to the kindness of everyone that we’ve been able make sure our members have this important lifeline.  This was definitely a first for the charity and a huge positive out of a negative situation.”