Talking Newspaper service

Christine Tucker, Clova Reid and Alison Douglas ready to read in the Duns studio
Christine Tucker, Clova Reid and Alison Douglas ready to read in the Duns studio

The Borders Talking Newspapers (BTN) celebrate their 25th year of continuous service to visually impaired people in the region next week.

Despite difficult weather, technical hitches and volunteer illness, no week has ever been missed, but as the service approaches its silver anniversary, this record looks to be increasingly at risk with new volunteer recorders needed.

BTN operates from the Working Men’s Institute in Duns and Teviot Church in Hawick where, every Thursday or Friday, teams of volunteers meet up to read a digest of articles from the Southern Reporter, Berwickshire News, Border Telegraph and Hawick Paper, which is then sent out on USB sticks to visually impaired listeners.

BTN has a team of around 70 volunteers and 200 listeners. Listener numbers are increasing, against the trend for talking newspapers.

Volunteers are on a six-weekly rota, but there is a shortage of recorders at the Duns studio, meaning they have to record twice in every rota. Recording is straightforward, using basic audio software on a computer and controlling microphone volumes. Other volunteer roles are editing the articles, usually at home, reading and dealing with sending out or returned wallets.

To learn more, become a listener or volunteer, contact Wendy on 01361 884206 or email office@btn