Talking News charity birthday

A group which helps to provide a free audio news service for the blind and the visually impaired has celebrated their 30th birthday.

Friday, 28th September 2018, 6:00 pm
Updated Saturday, 29th September 2018, 6:04 am
Sheffield Talking News 30th Anniversary Dinner. Mary Callaghan (Chair STN) Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr Tony Downing, Deputy Mayoress Mrs Val Downing.

Sheffield Talking News, (STN), is a charity which provides a free service for those who find reading a newspaper difficult due to disability, and operated by a team of unpaid volunteers.

The team came together earlier this month to celebrate their milestone at a dinner at Tapton Hall, a Grade II listed venue in Crosspool.

Sheffield Talking News 30th Anniversary Dinner. Volunteers, left to right, Sheila and John Stratford, Deborah Bolaji (cake baker) Laura Willis, Beverley Chubb

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Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor Tony Downing praised Sheffield Talking News and its 60 strong volunteering team for their commitment for keeping over 400 blind and visually impaired people across Sheffield up-to-date with local news, information over the last thirty years.

He said: ''Happy anniversary and thank you for the great work you do.'

Councillor Anne Murphy, who has long been a listener and keen supporter of STN for a number of years, paid tribute To the volunteers who  record and dispatch USB memory sticks filled with the local news to the hundreds of users of the charity across the city.

She said: 'A golden package lands on my doormat every week without fail.'

Sheffield Talking News 30th Anniversary Dinner. Volunteer Barbara Collingwood and husband Stan

The BBC's Gerry Kersey alos entertained guests at the event by reliving memories of his career, which be began fifty years ago.

He described his early days in radio, his favourite programmes and even entertained people with the occasional burst of song to illustrate his theme of talking and listening.

Addressing the crowd, Gerry said 'Fellow communicators your free service to the visually impaired means talking and listening and providing a very valuable service.'

Gerry also thanked The Telegraph and our sister title the Sheffield Star for our support of the charity.

Chair of STN Mary Callaghan said she looked forward to celebrating more milestones in the years to come.

She said: ''Here's to another 30 years of providing our free service to Sheffield.'

STN was founded in 1988 by Mary and the late Bill Crozier and Roy Chester.

The charity is based at the Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind, Mappin Street, just outside the city centre.

Each week, a group of volunteers help to select the news, record and edit it in custom built studio and put it on USB sticks ready to be sent to the charity's users.

Editors start the process by selecting material for the recording by reading The Telegraph and the Sheffield Star.

They then  draw up a reading list based in stories which they believe will be of most interest to their listeners.

Readers then read the chosen new items and technicians record them as they do so.

The technicians then undertake post production work and make a copy to a master tape before uploading the recording to the USB sticks and also the charity website.

The USB memory sticks are then ready to be distributed to listeners free of charge under the Royal Mail's articles for the blind concession.

The USB stick arrives on doorsteps in a bright yellow padded postal wallet, and all the charity ask is that recipients make use of the return address label provided to them once they have listened to the news to send the memory stick back to the charity so it can be reused each week.

Sheffield Talking News is funded solely through public donations and benefactors.

The charity does not receive any government or council assistance and volunteer are unpaid.

If you would like to donate to the charity, become a volunteer, or sign up to use the service please e-mail [email protected] or call 0114 2780 440.

You can listen to STN on the official website at, or or even through the charity's new telephone service on 0114 2305 1664. Charges apply for the telephone service. You can also find the STN podcast on iTunes.

For more information about the charity, please visit the website.