There are exciting plans ahead for a small East Dunbartonshire based charity which helps visually impaired people keep up to date with the news.
For Cue and Review Recording Service has just been given a grant of £5000 from the Bank of Scotland Foundation.
This will enable it to continue with the vital service it offers to the blind and partially sighted community, as well as giving young people aged 16 to 29 the skills they need to gain employment.
Managing editor Alistair McPhee works with a small team of dedicated professionals including operations director Morag Mackay and chairman Mark Hutton.
He said: “Although our primary aim since we started way back in 1982 is to transcribe print magazines and newspapers into audio format for the benefit of the visually and reading impaired, our role has changed over the years.
“We now employ youngsters on the Community Jobs Scotland (CJS) scheme for a year and give them the skills and confidence to gain future employment.
“It is amazing what a difference it can make to a young person’s confidence after they have recorded news articles for broadcast.
“It can be nerve-wracking to do at first but, after a little while, they really get into their stride.
“The young people we employ work for 25 hours a week and are expected to conform to all the usual norms of work, such as turning up on time and having consideration for work colleagues when seeking time off.
“It is all part of the skill set people learn when they enter the world of work.”
One young man who has been employed on the CJS scheme, Ruairidh Shields, said it had helped boost his confidence.
The Bishopbriggs 17-year-old said: “I am a lot better than when I started two months ago.
“No-one likes the sound of their own voice when they hear it played back to them but you get used to it!
“Speaking into the mic has really built up my confidence.
“Before I used to mumble and although I still find it difficult to speak to new people, my family and friends say it is much easier to have a conversation with me now because my diction is so much better.”
Ruairidh, who will turn 18 next week, is not sure if he would like to pursue a career in radio broadcasting. He has recently been for an interview at an undertaker’s office.
But, according to Alistair, it is the confidence Ruairidh has gained while working with Cue and Review that has given him the drive to go out and get interviews.
And the confidence issue is one that Morag Mackay believes desperately needs to be addressed.
She said: “Although our primary aim is to provide a service to the blind and partially sighted, we are increasingly seeing mainly young men who lack the confidence to go out and find work.
“I don’t know why this is but it may have something to do with the changing role that young men have in our society today.
“They are brought up to be breadwinners but over the last 20 years that has changed somewhat.
“If you have dyslexia or a physical or mental health issue it can be hard to fit in.
“We are here to give young people a feeling of what it is like to work.
“The youngsters on the CJS scheme get paid and are expected to turn up to work on time. Being late is not acceptable. So they are more ready for the world of work.
“We are really grateful that the Bank of Scotland Foundation has given us this funding so that we can offer even more youngsters help in the future.”
Cue and Review works closely with a number of organisations including the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO). The grants it receives are crucial to its work.
There are four recording booths at the studios and up to 25 volunteers work there throughout the month.
Many of the volunteers are retired or have a couple of spare hours each week.
Chairman Mark Hutton added: “We greatly appreciate the stability grants bring to our charity.
“We have no guaranteed funding and need to raise every penny each year while also providing training and support to team members.
“Thanks to the Bank of Scotland Foundation, we can spend more time delivering our services and helping our team members.”