The Talking Newspaper Federation Committee has a maximum of 9 trustees. A further 3 trustees can be co-opted for specific tasks. Both elected and co-opted members must be active within a local Talking Newspaper, or connected to an organisation that specialises in the production of audio text, or be an Individual Associate Member – all of whom must be members of the Federation. Each member, once their election as a trustee is ratified at an AGM, serves a 3 year term. After 3 years, they may stand for re-election for another 3 year term if they wish to do so.
Michael Lewington – Chair
Michael was the Director and Company Secretary of Calibre Audio Library from September 2007 until October 2019. Calibre provides audio books for any person unable to read normal print. Previously a Company Secretary and contributes to the lawful governance and complete legal compliance in all TNF matters relevant to charity law. His speciality is audio and he is passionate that audio must sit alongside other formats; braille, large print and increasingly the availability of eBooks with text to speech. As a Trustee he is committed to the promotion of all material including newspapers and magazines to be available in accessible formats and of good quality. The Talking News Federation and local Talking Newspapers play a vital role in the audio production and distribution of local newspapers and magazines that would otherwise not be available to listeners.
Cathy Sexton – Secretary
When my local TN – Grenestede Talking News – was looking for volunteers in 2012, I joined as a recording engineer as I knew how important receiving local information was to people who could not read their local paper after my Dad started receiving his local TN. Then having been involved for three years, the chairman wanted to step down so I volunteered and have been the chairman since 2015. I became involved with TNF since January 2017 and I have been organising and documenting the items held in the TNF archive and want to make the archive a useable resource for members of TNF. I was co-opted onto the TNF committee as secretary after the 2017 AGM and voted onto the committee at the 2018 AGM.
Richard Black – Hon Treasurer
Richard worked in many areas of a major bank for 24 years followed by 12 years with the National Lottery Community Fund. When a reorganisation of the Fund relocated his job to Newcastle upon Tyne in 2007 he left the Fund and worked as a charity consultant until 2015. He is Treasurer of Chelmsford Talking Newspaper and one of their Technical Officers. Since 2014, Richard has been the Treasurer for the Talking News Federation and of three other local charities.
Amanda’s relationship with Visual Impairment started at Walsall Society for the Blind at 15 years old, here she went on her first work placement from school. After leaving College she went on to work for SENSE a National Charity working with Deaf Blind adults, followed by joining the NHS as a Care Manager. She returned to the Walsall Society in January 2006 as the Chief Executive Officer. Over the past 13 years Amanda has made changes in the Society operations, ensuring that it is fit for the future. She Chairs the Walsall Talking Newspaper Committee and has been part of the team that has challenged the original format of their Talking Newspaper and supported as it went digital then extended to a magazine service also. She has served on the TNF committee since November 2012. She is currently the Chairman for TNF current supports the committee with strategy.
Alan has a history of caring, first as a line ambulanceman with paramedic training. Alan retired and moved to become a site supervisor at a special needs school.. As a result of meeting his wife Marjorie who is a very strong TN supporter of over 35 years he became involved 8 years ago with Burnley Talking Newspaper, assisting them to move from analogue cassettes through digitalization. He has with his wife made up the development team and been instrumental in the rebuilding of a new Leeds Talking Newspaper. As the Trustee with responsibility for development he works with old and new Talking Newspapers’s to develop their service offer for the betterment of our blind and partially sighted listeners.
I have combined a career in the oil industry, focussing on technical, economic and recycling areas, with longstanding involvement as a volunteer in the charitable sector. Initially with Relate, as a counsellor before moving on to become Chair of Relate in Cheshire and Merseyside and then a member of the national Relate Board with responsibility for governance matters. As Chair of Stockport Talking News for the past seven years, I just caught the end of the tape cassette era and then more recently oversaw the move from CD’s to Memory Sticks. This was particularly enjoyable as it provided an opportunity to visit many of our TN listeners in their homes and gain a greater insight into the personal challenges faced by visually impaired, and often older, members of the local community.
Heather trained as a journalist on newspapers and worked as a reporter, sub editor and editor for more than a decade. After leaving journalism to study for a Master’s degree, she moved to work in senior in-house communications roles and then as a Director for a number of high profile public sector organisations, helping them communicate effectively with the public, stakeholders and Government Ministers. She was a volunteer at Elmbridge, Runnymede and Spelthorne Talking Newspaper until moving out of the area in 2020.