A charity that for over 45 years has helped to keep blind and partially sighted people connected with their local community has benefited from a grant.

Now, thanks to a £500 grant from housing association Broadacres, Northallerton’s Talking Newspaper is hoping new volunteers will step forward to ensure it continues for another 500 editions.

Each month the dedicated team records a series of stories and features intermingled with chit-chat from the Northallerton area to USB memory sticks which are then mailed out to listeners.

The eagerly awaited sticks are then plugged into a free boom box audio device and the listeners sit back to enjoy the news from the comfort of their homes.

The Northern Echo: Talking Newspaper volunteers Katy Cowen and Hal Coleman

“Many of our listeners have previously enjoyed good sight which has sadly deteriorated to the point that they cannot read and rarely leave their homes,” said Talking Newspaper Chairwoman Katy Cowen.

“Our shows help bridge that gap, packed with features and hyper-local news read by local voices and this generous grant from Broadacres will help us to meet running costs.”

A pioneer of podcasting, the Talking Newspaper was set up in 1978 and although it is now accessible via the web and smart speakers, for many of the loyal band of elderly listeners the plug-in USB method remains the best way for them to access.

The sticks are then returned in protective pouches and recycled with the next edition.

Recorded by volunteers, each edition includes an update on all the latest news, including from Northern Echo sister paper the Darlington and Stockton Times, as well as features on gardening, cookery, quizzes, favourite poems and a host of other content.

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The team recently recorded edition number 540 and are on the look-out for new volunteers to join them and in particular someone to provide a regular update of local sports news.

To find out more visit https://tnnd.org.uk/ or email thnorthallerton@gmail.com The Broadacres Community Development Fund supports local organisations, groups, and projects in areas where Broadacres has homes. All grants are approved by a panel consisting of Broadacres’ residents.

To apply to the fund visit https://www.broadacres.org.uk/customer-area/getting-involved/community-development-fund/