OSWESTRY Talking Newspaper has given its thanks to an town-based company that has offered help to the charity.

AICO - which produces smoke, heat and carbon monoxide alarms - has helped Oswestry Talking Newspaper for several years, and honorary secretary Helen Sharman praised their efforts.

She said: “AICO have been super over the past few years helping us out.

“We rely solely on donations, so to be helped out by them really means a lot to us – their generosity is great. We don’t have to fundraise because the donations we receive are so generous, and that is something that helps us out a lot.

“Each year we receive some generous donations for Christmas too which help to keep us afloat which is always really heart-warming.

“We never have to ask for donations which is fantastic.”

Helen added: “We are also helped out by the fact that Royal Mail post for the blind free of charge – this is great because we don’t want to be charging people for posting.”

Oswestry Talking Newspaper offers services for around 25 people who find reading difficult. Many of the readers are blind, however readers with other conditions are helped out by the service.

Helen explained: “People don’t necessarily have to be blind to benefit from our services. Some people come to us who are partially sighted or have Alzheimer’s who might physically struggle to read a newspaper in other ways.

“We provide people with the player and memory sticks, and demonstrate to them how to use it to make it easier for them to keep up to date with what’s happening.”

Helen believes the charity offers an important service which means everyone is able to find out about what is going on in their region, regardless of how difficult they find reading.

She added: “I feel as though the services we offer are very important. It helps to bring people back into the world and lets them know what is happening in their area.

“The idea is that we can hopefully make people feel more comfortable in what can be a difficult situation.

“We have a good relationship with everyone who uses our services – they are happy to receive the paper and they often let us know feedback which is very helpful to us.

“Some people can feel very alone at times, and they might not see their family or neighbours a lot. This means they may not necessarily have someone who comes to them to speak with them for a prolonged period of time about what is happening in their area.

“I’m always reading, and I always have done. I think it’s an important thing to do and no-one should go without it.”

The volunteer-run charity has noticed a change in recent times with news becoming more digitalised, however Helen has plans that she hopes will help keep the Talking Newspaper up-to-date with the new age of media.

She added: “We are fully aware that the ongoing transition from newspapers to online will affect us in the future.

“A lot more younger people are very tech savvy, so hopefully we can get some younger volunteers involved – especially to help us keep our website up-to-date.

“No-one who works on the talking newspaper is paid – it is a completely volunteer-ran charity and we don’t charge customers for mileage or time. Our volunteers work on a rota system which allows our volunteers to have weeks off from working on the recordings and distribution.

“We have someone who comes along and reads the news in Welsh once a month which is nice. We do try our best to cater for everyone.

“One thing I have noticed in recent times is that we seem to be expanding beyond Oswestry – we have a number of readers from outside the Oswestry region.

“One thing we would like to see is the ability for people to have their talking newspaper read out on an Alexa or Google Home kind of device.”

To find out more information about Oswestry Talking Newspaper, call 01691 671766 or visit https://oswestrytn.org.uk/