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News service for Swindon blind wins £6,900 of funding
A NEWS service that reaches out to the visually impaired has received a much needed financial boost.
Swindon and District Talking Newspaper is celebrating the award of a grant of £6,900 from the Big Lottery Fund.
The funds have been awarded to enable STAN to improve its service by providing newer and better ‘boom-boxes’ and upping listener numbers by increasing publicity, with much-needed updated leaflets and exhibition materials.
STAN has come a long way since it was set up in 1982, when a local blind person, Gerry England, heard about other talking newspapers, decided Swindon needed one and assembled a small group of pioneering volunteers.
Over the years it has had a variety of homes, including the front room of Swindon broadcaster Shirley Ludford and today it shares its headquarters at Craven House in Victoria Road with the Swindon branch of the Wiltshire Blind Association.
Veronica Laker, chairman of STAN, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have received this grant from the Big Lottery Fund.
“It will not only help us to bring an even better service to our existing listeners, but also help us to attract new ones too.”
STAN is a weekly publication that gives blind, visually impaired and listeners with other disabilities the independent means of keeping in touch with what’s going on in the local community.
The newspaper is circulated to listeners by means of a memory stick and contains local news items from the Swindon Advertiser and features of general interest including sport, local history and ‘what’s-on’.
The paper has around 180 listeners and 40 volunteers involved in producing it, including Steve Cowdry.
He said: “For a charity such as ourselves the grant is a great financial boost.
“It is a great way of keeping the people in touch not only with the news but what else is going on in the town around them.
“Our listeners are incredibly loyal and we receive a lot of thanks, not only from them but also from their family and friends.”
The service is free to anyone who lives in the Swindon area and is unable to read newsprint for whatever reason.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01793 522511.