ESTN Service Update – 6th January 2021

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We wish all our listeners a very happy new year, and we all hope for a much better one after the trials of 2020.

We did everything we could to stay with you for as much of the year as possible, but like many organisations, our premises were not available to us for a significant period, which necessitated an ‘on the go’ re-structure of our Production System, in moving to remote recording in our volunteers’ homes, and in so doing, we learned many new skills and brought ourselves up to speed with the new technology which allows us to make the ESTN issues away from our studio.

The national situation has now reached a stage however, where following the UK Prime Minister’s Announcement made on Monday 4th January confirming the new national lockdown, we have felt it necessary to give consideration to the short and medium term future of ESTN’s Service, including consultation with our landlords at the Midland News Association (MNA).

Considering the increased seriousness of the current pandemic situation, and the constant instability of the resulting legislation and directives over the last few months, it has been decided that, immediately following the recording and memory stick distribution of our Issue on Wednesday 6th/Thursday 7th January, the entire ESTN Production/Distribution cycle will cease until further notice.

We have taken this decision reluctantly, and with very careful consideration, but knowing that it is the right thing to do for our volunteers at this point in time. It is important to convey that the decision to suspend our service for the moment is purely our own, and we remain in a completely legitimate position to re-start, once we feel it appropriate to do so, under the new legislation – effective from Wednesday 6th January, which makes no changes to the exclusions permitted for the provision of Voluntary Services.

The new directives are explained in full on the Government website at :
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=

As a group, our volunteers have already done a huge amount of work over the last year to re-invent ESTN for the new situation, and in so doing have permanently adopted a new system, encompassing the best and most appropriate use of home working, assisted by the latest IT/AV technologies, to both meet current COVID Regulations, and also to increase the robustness of the operation, which is vital in giving us the ability and flexibility to deal with future challenges and ever-changing circumstances.

We are acutely aware that, for many of our listeners, their regular life challenges have significantly increased since the start of the pandemic nearly a year ago, and with that always foremost in mind, we did everything possible to continue as near normal service as possible for them throughout the year, which presented many challenges in terms of doing so with substantially less volunteers due to their own circumstances, and the loss of our studio between March and September.

We would like to thank each and every one of our highly dedicated volunteers for the significant and greatly valued part which they have played in our concerted efforts to keep the service going under very difficult conditions.

ESTN has, and will continue to.. do everything necessary to prioritise the safety of its volunteers and listeners, and is using the early part of 2021 whilst recordings are not being made to recruit and train new members to our Production Team, and the existing team are working hard to consolidate their knowledge of the new system.

We look forward to being back with you when the conditions are right.

In the meantime, stay safe, and very best wishes from all the team at ESTN.

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