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Ceredigion Community Community Mid Wales

Talking newspaper for the blind returns following pandemic

Blind and partially-sighted individuals are seeing the return of a talking newspaper service that had ceased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ceredigion Talking Newspaper, established in 1970 and an inspiration for similar initiatives across the UK, relies on dedicated volunteers who sift through newspapers, edit content for auditory consumption, and narrate articles.

The Talking Newspaper used to offer complimentary bilingual spoken summaries of news articles from sources like the Cambrian News, Y Cymro, and Golwg to nearly 150 individuals with visual impairments.

However, its services were temporarily halted when the closure of Ceredigion council offices, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, disrupted its operations. Now, the talking newspaper has resumed recording at its new location in the HAHAV center in Aberystwyth.

The team records approximately one hour of news and selected articles sourced from local newspapers. Subsequently, this content is transferred onto memory sticks, which are then prepared for distribution to listeners throughout Ceredigion.

Syd Smith, the chairman of the service, is the driving force behind resurrecting this valuable resource. He faced a temporary loss of eyesight over 70 years ago when a car battery exploded in his face.

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Mr. Smith shared that the relaunch of the talking newspaper brings him immense joy, as he intimately understands the challenges of living with blindness.