A LAST ditch appeal has gone out for volunteers to help save a valuable service that has been provided for 47 years – the Powys Talking Newspaper for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

A special meeting has been called for Wednesday, August 1, in an attempt to find new recruits.

The organisation started life in 1971 and has continued for 47 years without interruption in providing local news on audio cassettes to many hundreds of visually impaired listeners in the area.

Peter England, chair and secretary, said: "We have supplied more than 200,000 audio cassettes during these years, all free of charge, due to the wonderful efforts of our volunteers.

"Unfortunately, several of our key volunteers are unable to continue using their skills due to increasing age and some sickness in their families.

Without their help, we will be forced to discontinue our service.

"We have already publicised our predicament in the County Times recently and invited younger volunteers to come forward to fill in the potential vacancies.

"We have sufficient numbers of readers, but we need some assistance in the recording studios to record and copy the weekly cassettes.

"We also need a replacement for our long serving treasurer and also a few new helpers to scan the weekly papers and select relevant items for our readers.

"We also need people to fill in the positions of chairman and secretary.

"Our organisation is a registered charity and we operate under the necessary rule and regulations.

"We have all the necessary recording and duplication equipment in a fully fitted recording studio in the centre of Welshpool."

A special meeting will be held at the Armoury on Wednesday, August 1, at 4pm for further discussions.

"If we are unable to find some new recruits. Then we will, reluctantly, cease our operations at he end of August," said Peter.

"This is a disturbing situation as we have approximately 120 Visually Impaired people in Powys who very much enjoy receiving their local news on a Monday morning by the postman.

"Many of our listeners live alone, and we often receive messages from friends and neighbours saying how much this means to our listeners at the start of their week.

"We have had message from listeners, who say that the set themselves up on a Monday morning, with a hot drink, and some biscuits and wait for the mail man to deliver their yellow envelope with this week’s Talking Newspaper. This then sets them up for the day.

"If we could get just a few new volunteers who could be quickly trained, then this service could then continue for some time to come.

"If you do have any queries or questions, then please get in touch at any time of the day – someone will always be here to answer the call."

If you can help save this priceless community service or want to know more, please contact Peter England, chair and Secretary, on 01938 55262.