At last, the formal announcement has been made – SADTN has been granted the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS). This is a fantastic recognition of the efforts of all SADTN volunteers over the past 45 years, especially those who started the whole thing off in 1974 – Ray and Meg Bousfield, sadly no longer with us but never forgotten (see our website).
Here is the official explanation: ‘The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognize outstanding work done in their own communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of The Queen’s coronation. It is the MBE for volunteer groups.’
Obviously, this is a huge honour (we are not the first TN to receive the award, but I doubt any other TN has received the (national) QAVS and the (local) Mayor’s Special Recognition Award in the same year!). The very small number of us (just the three Trustees) who have known of this award for the past month or so have found it extremely difficult to keep our mouths closed (especially at the recent AGM) but the announcement was embargoed until 2nd June.
If you wish to find out more about the QAVS, click on ‘Listen Online’ in the menu at the top of this page, then scroll down till you reach ‘Community Matters’ near the bottom. Click on that title and you will find an interview about the QAVS as the first item. This interview was recently played to our listeners – so they will all know what it means when we say “we got it!”
Yet more information about QAVS can be found at their website, https://www.gov.uk/queens-award-for-voluntary-service
A variety of great raffle prizes was on offer at SADTN’s 2019 AGM on 27 April, thanks to the following for generous vouchers or gifts: Aldenham Golf & Country Club, Loft Restaurant on George Street, Sopwell House Hotel, Hotter Shoes, Elstree Electrical, Tesco, Ayletts Garden Centre, Cellar Doors, Boots the Chemist, Sainsbury’s, Molton Brown St Albans and several of our own volunteers. Winning tickets for the raffle were drawn by Deputy Lieutenant of Hertfordshire Akhtar Zaman and St Albans’ City and District Mayor Councillor Rosemary Farmer.
Deputy Lieutenant Akhtar Zaman chatting with listeners and volunteers during tea after the 2019 AGM.
At the Mayor’s Pride event held at St Michael’s Manor on 12 March 2019, the Right Worshipful Mayor of St Albans City and District chose SADTN for her Mayor’s Recognition Award. The annual Mayor’s Pride aims “to celebrate extraordinary people and outstanding organisations that make a positive contribution to the local community”. In choosing SADTN for the one award that is solely for the Mayor to decide, Cllr Rosemary Farmer recognised that it has been serving a special part of the larger community for 45 years. The Award is therefore in recognition of the hundreds of volunteers who have continued the work of our founders, Ray and Meg Bousfield, since they launched the charity in 1974 from their kitchen table in Beechwood Avenue, St Albans.
The Mayor’s Recognition Award
Teddy, Josef and Tom handing over the Co-op cheque to Robin and Jennie
Customers at the Co-op store in Cell Barnes Lane, St Albans, had already raised a massive £1,790.07 for a local charity through the Co-operative Local Community Fund when Leonie, the wife of store manager Tom Digby, added a further £79 from a special cake bake, helped by son Teddy and staff member Josef, who baked some of the cakes. St Albans & District Talking Newspaper (SADTN) was on hand to receive the donations and to thank Co-op customers in person at a special event on Saturday 25th November.
SADTN volunteers Jenny Schon and Robin Christoforou showed customers how SADTN keeps local visually impaired residents in touch with what’s happening in their community, with a weekly audio programme of local news, interviews, discussions and more.
“These funds will help us to add to our recording studio facilities and also enable us to reach out to those who, for whatever reason, are unable to pick up and read newspapers and magazines – whether they’re living at home or in residential care.”
The Co-operative Community Fund is a national scheme that enables shoppers to help local charities receive one percent of the amount they spend. For more about the Fund, check out www. coop.co.uk/membership/local-community-fund; and for more about SADTN, click on to www.sadtn,org.uk.
Monday 16th May saw the successful culmination of months of effort by three local organisations working together for the benefit of a group of local visually impaired residents – all of them regular listeners to the weekly audio programmes provided by St Albans and District Talking Newspaper (SADTN), which aims to keep local people in the District in touch with what’s going on in the community around them.
In recent months, SADTN has worked with a team of students at Oaklands College as part of the “Dragons Apprentice Challenge”, a local scheme that brings together businesses, school/college students and charities. A group of year 12 College students raised funds for SADTN to take some of its listeners to visit the Abbey Theatre and experience the Audio Description facilities available for visually impaired members of the audience. The students raised enough cash to ensure the attendees were able to enjoy refreshments provided by local caterer, Eat Lunch.
The Abbey Theatre’s Audio Description service introduces the storyline, plot, character, set and costumes. Then during the performance, through their individual headphones, these listeners are given additional information they might not be able to see on stage, such as significant but silent actions, gestures, movements, entrances and exits. Audio Description enables a visually impaired person to be immersed in the performance alongside the rest of the audience.
As one of the audience for this special ‘taster’ said afterwards: “That was amazing. Shakespeare’s language is good enough on its own but to have the added benefit of hearing what the performers were actually doing – which otherwise we would be excluded from – was great.”
SADTN organised the transport, refreshments and a short excerpt from Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’ was specially performed by some of the all-woman cast from the Company of Ten, ably assisted by the theatre’s audio describers. These AD performances are held on the second Thursday of each production run on the main stage. The next AD performance is on Thursday 18th May . Future productions include Dylan Thomas’ ‘Under Milk Wood’ (1st – 9th July, with Audio Described service on Thursday 7th July).
“It’s a fantastic facility for those with serious sight loss”, said SADTN Chairman, Rob Pearman. “If you can’t see enough to read a book, you can usually listen to the audiobook. Now, if you want to go to the theatre locally, you can enjoy the performance whether or not you can see everything that’s happening on stage. Many thanks to the team at Company of Ten for providing this fantastic service and for putting on this special performance just for us.”
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