sounds around ards – talking newspapers

The story of Talking Newspapers in the UK began in 1968 when Ronald Sturt came across Talking Newspapers while on a visit to Sweden. He brought the idea back with him and in January 1970 the first tape was produced and distributed. The idea caught on and now a network of Talking Newspapers operates throughout the UK.

‘Sound around Ards’ was started in 1980 by the Newtownards Lions and like all local talking newspapers, it shares a common aim of bringing local news to visually impaired listeners. Like many talking newspapers we are members of the ATNNI (Association of Talking Newspapers Northern Ireland) who look out for the interests of members.

Local news stories were originally distributed on cassette tapes but today this is now presented on CD disks with the advent of the digital age. At ‘Sound around Ards’ we aim to provide news for listeners in the Ards and North Down areas, with weekly news from the ‘Newtownards Chronicle’ and the ‘County Down Spectator’.

The editor selects the items to be read on Thursday afternoon; these are brought along to the evening recoding and readers take it in turn to read the items. The Cd Disc produced has roughly 30 minutes of local news and 30 minutes of a ‘magazine’ section which might include a short quiz, poem, recipe, jokes etc.

The disc is then copied by the technician in the recording room at the Ards Hospital, due to the generosity of the SEH&SC Trust and technical support by RNIB, and sent out on a Thursday evening. This means that most of the listeners receive their CD Wallet by Friday or Saturday’s post and enjoy the local news update while it is still fresh and current.

This service is provided by a team of volunteers (editors, readers and technical staff) who give freely of their time and talents. We couldn’t provide the service if it wasn’t for their dedication and also the voluntary subscriptions we receive to maintain it. If you are interested in offering some of your valuable time as a volunteer – an editor, reader or technician (basic training is offered) please contact them at ‘Sound around Ards’.

S. Clarke & Son

Bryan Johnston
The Old Laboratories,
Ards Hospital, Church St,
Newtownards BT23 4AS

T 028 9188 8438
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