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Audio newspaper founder warns: System isn’t working

22 June, 2018 — By Helen Chapman

Elizabeth Jones

A 90-YEAR-OLD blind activist says issues affecting elderly people are relevant to the young too.

Elizabeth Jones attended the Pensioners’ Parliament in Blackpool with Islington Pensioners Forum. Workshops were held on issues such as health and social care.

Ms Jones, who started an audio newspaper, Talking News Islington, for blind people in 2008, said: “The conference was about the issues that affect us as we grow older but I think it’s also relevant to society as a whole and young people too. The system currently isn’t working.

“It is important to find something for the boys to do. When my children were young they had youth clubs… Now these things are closing down. No wonder things have got out of hand. It all helps towards a deterioration of living standards.”

She was at Blackpool with companion Geoffrey Withers, 83, who lives in Halesowen. They met at a gardening group for visually impaired people after she went blind in 1980. She was knocked over by a runner and hit her head on the pavement, shattering her retina.

“We had evening meals followed by bands and singers,” said Ms Jones, “I taught Geoffrey to dance and we danced together all night, as you do.

“I would never move from Islington. I have lived here since I was two and I know it by memory so can move around with little problems since going blind. You have to manage through the haze.

It’s like everything is in a dark cloud. To me, people look like the stick people in LS Lowry paintings.”

Her audio newspaper has 25 volunteers who help distribute the monthly tape to 150 homes.

Ms Jones said: “We collect stories from the Tribune about things going on in the community. We avoid things about crime, muggings on mopeds, because it’s all about telling people what’s going on rather than making people scared to leave their houses.”

The next audio comes out on July 16.


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