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About the Talking News Federation

Since 2005 when TNF was registered as a charity, we have represented and supported the interests of over 300 Talking Newspapers who provide a free service for the blind and visually impaired of recorded local news and information relevant to their particular area within the UK. Acting as an umbrella organisation for our Talking Newspaper Members, we also actively campaign at a national level on related issues on behalf of our Members and Listeners.

Within our website both Members and Listeners will be able to find relevant information appertaining to their needs. Members will receive a logon ID which will enable them to access articles and information to bolster their local news recordings located within ‘Editor’s Choice.’ As a Member you will also find relevant information on the various aspects of establishing and running a local Talking News.

The national network of local Talking Newspapers is run entirely by volunteers who work hard to support blind and partially sighted people with free recordings of local news and articles of interest from local and national magazines, together with information on events in the area, helping people keep up to date with what is happening.

How did Talking Newspapers start in the UK?

When in 1968 a senior librarian from Aberystwyth, Ronald Sturt, went to Sweden on a study visit to establish what services Swedish libraries provided for disabled people, he saw firsthand how the library had teamed up with the local association for the blind to establish a talking newspaper Arosbandet. Inspired by the idea, when he returned home, he sought financial support to establish a talking newspaper. With the aid of the local Round Table, in January 1970, one of the first UK based Talking Newspapers was recorded. At the time, recordings went on to tape cassettes which dropped through the letterboxes of twenty blind people in Cardiganshire.

As the concept caught on, over time, further local Talking Newspapers were established in other parts of the country. Within four years, there were sufficient TNs to merit the formation of a national membership body. So, 1974 saw the establishment of the Talking Newspaper Association of the United Kingdom (TNAUK). Their objectives were to unite and serve the growing number of active local Talking Newspapers whilst stimulating their creation to ensure that every blind reader in the four nations who wanted to stay connected with their local community would be able to.

The Talking News Federation established in 2004

Three decades later, at the TNAUK AGM Annual Conference held in Southport, the Talking News Federation (TNF) was voted into being. Delegates agreed that a new, separate organisation would be better suited to look after the interests of the membership than Talking Newspaper Association of the UK (TNAUK) based in Heathfield, Sussex. By the end of March 2005, a committee of 9 was in place, a new charity had been formed, papers had been signed and the new organisation was ready to accept membership from April 1st, 2005.

Once established, TNF introduced and achieved many things, including:

  • A fully equipped registered office in Royal Wootton Bassett and then a move to Swindon, Wiltshire where the head office is still located.
  • The transfer of the Ronald Sturt training fund to TNF and the introduction of 3 new bursaries funded by the interest earned from the account.
  • An annual update survey of all local Talking Newspapers appertaining to the number of volunteers and listeners they work with.
  • Policy documents for both TNF and for members to adapt for themselves.
  • The first TNF website was launched in 2005, with subsequent updates, the latest being 2024.
  • The creation of a directory of Talking News Members to establish the TNF Finder for Listeners.
  • Well attended annual conferences.
  • A number of local conferences including the launch of regional TNF Road Shows in 2023.
  • Reduced insurance costs for TNF member TNs.
  • Membership stabilising at around 300 local TNs nationally.

Over the years, TNF looks for innovative ways the organisation can support TNF Members. We work closely with a number of organisations established to supp

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