Lottery windfall for charity

Strathkelvin Talking Newspaper
Strathkelvin Talking Newspaper

A news service for visually impaired people has secured funding from the National Lottery to buy essential new equipment.

Strathkelvin Talking Newspaper Association, a charity which sends out recordings of the Kirkintilloch Herald to those with sight problems, has successfully made a bid for £2,410 which will allow the charity to purchase digital recording machines.

USB sticks with a recording of the Kirkintilloch Herald are sent to over 90 people in the area every Friday and the charity hopes that more people who are visually impaired will come forward and request the service.

Technical manager Alistair Aitchison told the Herald: “It’s a complex charity to keep going, but it all becomes worth it when you get a thanks from someone who is blind.

“There is a lady who says she always looks forward to getting her talking newspaper delivered on a Friday.

“She is on her own all day apart from carers who pop in. The voices on the recording are people talking to her in her room. They get to know all the voices, they are their friends over the airwaves.”

The charity, based at Southbank Marina, has running costs of around £5,500 every year, and relies on external funding to allow them to buy much needed digital recording equipment to carry out the important service.

They send out a USB stick with each article as a track on the recording and listeners use a ‘boom box’ - which is sent to them free of charge - so they can select stories according to their preference.

Once they are finished listening to the recording they send it back to be cleared out and a new recording can be placed on it.

Alistair said: “The boom box gives them the flexibility to listen to what they want.

“It’s the only way they get to hear local news because it’s not on radio or TV.

“You know, what’s happening on Catherine Street Junction, or in the town hall.

“They rely on carers and some of them are housebound.”

He added: “We’re managing to keep going on the money we have , but for big expenditures like equipment, the National Lottery allows us to do that.”