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Talking newspaper for the blind revived by charity

A talking newspaper for the blind produced using news from a series of weeklies is set to be revived after being axed two years ago.

The Cunninghame Cassette, which features content from the Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald and the Irvine Times, was withdrawn in 2013 because of a lack of volunteers to transcribe and distribute it across North Ayrshire.

The move left around 100 subscribers without a weekly round-up of news, but the service has now been brought back by volunteers from Ayrshire Recording Services for the Blind.

The revived service will provide programmes for blind and visually-impaired people in digital format on memory sticks – all transcribed by a team of volunteer readers in the charity’s studio.

Volunteers with the newspapers which will be used for the project

Volunteers with the newspapers which will be used for the project

Project founder Jim Bircham said: “Being able to see the printed word is something a lot of us take for granted, however, for people with visual impairment this is not an option.

“By the age of 60, one in twelve of us will become blind or partially sighted, and this figure rises to one in six by the age of 75.

“Although they can listen to national radio news, for many it does not provide the information found in local newspapers.”

The service was first set up by the Round Table, in Ayrshire, in the late 1970s.

Jim added: “We know that without local news you can feel a bit out of touch.

“People have a relationship with their local newspaper and it’s the same with talking newspapers – some users say it’s like a friend being delivered through the letterbox every week.”