Kirkham Rotary talking Newspaper for the Blind

Kirkham Rotary supporting the Talking Newspaper for the Blind.

Princess Alexandra Home, South Shore, Blackpool.

L - R David Kirby, Karen Hargreaves, Nick Reid-Craft, Roger Kendrick, Sylvia Kirby, Steve Binks.

Imagine being born blind or partially sighted or losing your sight later on in life.  How would you keep abreast of current affairs, local news features or a weekly gardening column?

Well the Rotary Club of Kirkham and Rural Fylde have been supporting the talking newspaper since its inception nearly 40 years ago and members regularly meet at the purpose built studios in Blackpool to record weekly news articles.

The talking newspaper has been providing blind and partially sighted folk with news across the Fylde for almost 40 years. N-Vision who over see the newspaper is a local independent charity providing services and support to anyone with reduced vision living in the area regardless of age or means. The charity was first formed in 1910 and continues to provide services over 100 years later

In 1977 the Talking Newspaper Services was formed following an idea by Mr Bill Griffiths, Blackpools local blind war hero.

The recordings were done in a small studio in the Princess Alexandra Home and a local hotel which was owned by two volunteers was used as a convenient alternative location.  On occasions one of the volunteers would also take the recording equipment to the various readers homes and do individual recordings.

In 1985 a house on Squires Gate Lane was purchased, upstairs was converted into the Resource Centre and downstairs was the Talking Newspaper Department.

In 1996 National Lottery Funding was obtained for the development of the Talking Newspaper and the West Wing of the Princess Alexandra home was converted into the Talking Newspaper Department.

In 2007 the Talking Newspaper started a trial project using memory sticks or DAPs (Digital Audio Plugs) as a possible replacement format for tapes.  This was successful and now all clients receive their weekly Talking Newspaper on DAPs

The charity currently support over 2400 clients in the local area, over 400 receive the Talking Newspaper service and over 150 receive the Talking Books.  The Talking Newspaper is supported by over 100 volunteers and during 2014 gave in excess of 5000 hours. So what is a talking newspaper?

It is a local newspaper or magazine recorded every week in the studio using the latest digital recording equipment.  Over 100 volunteers, split into teams, prepare and record extracts from all the local papers and many popular magazines onto DAPs (Digital Audio Plugs) which are sent out weekly to hundreds of local service users to listen to in the comfort of their home.

Each DAP contains a selection of all the local newspapers and many popular magazines including: Lancashire Life, Best of British, Radio Times, Which Consumer, Health and Wellbeing to name but a few.  Each DAP usually contains around 8 hours of listening. The service is available through N-Vision to blind people and people with low vision living in the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre area.  The charity may also consider other individuals with specific needs who would benefit from a Talking Newspaper.

The weekly service is currently free, however there is an initial set up fee.  Each listener is given a special digital speaker to keep at home and are sent a newly recorded DAP every week.  Postage of the DAPs, both to and from the recipients, is free under the Royal Mails. Articles for the Blind Service.

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