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Setting up a Talking Newspaper? All you need to know.

Some basic information is given below but more comprehensive advice is available to members of the TNF.

The Basics

How much does it cost?

Setting up costs will vary, but many TNs start in a modest way.  TNF can provide advice and suggestons to set up using “a studio in a box” and a distribution process “in a dufflebag”. 

How can we find who wants to use our service?

Your local Social Services Department will hold a Register for the Blind and Partially Sighted and, although the information is confidential, they may forward letters for you.  Your Local Society for the Blind often have support desks at eye clinics and will usually be the first to speak to patients newly diagnosed with sight problems. There are also many other ways of contacting potential listeners.

Which area can we cover?

This will usually coincide with the area of circulation of the local paper from which you take your news.

Where can we record the newspaper?

It’s certainly worthwhile to try to secure good accommodation from the start, but there’s no need to spend precious funds if you don’t need to – most Talking Newspapers start in very humble surroundings, such as a local village or church hall, cricket, football or rugby club premises or a volunteers house are all possiblities.


Will we have to buy lots of equipment?

Many Talking Newspapers start in a small way. You may even be able to borrow equipment from an established, nearby Talking Newspaper or perhaps from a school or college. Once you start raising funds you will be able to consider which equipment you would like to buy. TNF can advise members on the best and most affordable equiment which is simple to use, portable and produces a high quality recording.


Do we need rules and regulations?

You can write a simple Constitution and the Charity Commission have models you can adapt.  You will need a Constitution before becoming a registered charity.  There is more information here about registering a small charity including links to the Charity Commission websites for England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland where you will find model constitutions.

Charity Commision England and Wales:

Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator:

Charity Commission for Northern ireland:

Should we register as a charity?

It is your choice to register, it is not mandatory and is not dependent on income.  Some charities with income below £5,000 don’t need to register (but all charities must abide by charity law). Those whose income is above £5,000 must register.  Further advice is available for members of TNF.

Do we need insurance?

This is advisable and an insurance scheme is provided for TNF members and is administered by an independent broker.  Cover is provided for equipment and public liability. A separate policy covers professional liability that includes libel.  Cover for copyright infringement can also be provided.

Do we need Disclosure and Barring checks?

They are not mandatory for Talking Newspaper volunteers. However, if your volunteers regularly visit listeners in their own homes it may be advisable to have these checks done to safeguard your volunteers and listeners.  Further information and advice is available to TNF Members.

Can we use FREEPOST?

Yes you can use Articles for the Blind for your blind and partially sighted listeners.  It is a requirement of the law that Royal Mail treats Articles for the Blind as first class post delivered free of charge. There are, of course, rules to ensure that this is not abused. Basic information only can be found at  and searching for Articles for the Blind.  TNF recommends that care be taken to ensure that address labels used in delivery pouches are clear and that post-codes are properly displayed. By doing this the likelihood of next day delivery will be greatly improved. Further information and advice is available to TNF Members.

Do we need permission from our local newspaper?

Provided your newspaper or magazine is not available in an accessible audio format you do not need permission.  On the 19 May 2014, Statutory Instrument No 1384 Copyright and Rights in Performances (Disability) Regulations 2014 came into force.  Talking Newspapers are authorised bodies and can operate under Section 31B “Making and supply of accessible copies by authorised bodies” for the personal use of disabled persons.  The defination is of a disabled person ”means a person who has a physical or mental impairment which prevents the person from enjoying a copyright work to the same degree as a person who does not have that impairment, and “disability” is to be construed.  However, a person is not to be regarded as disabled by reason only of an impairment of visual function which can be improved, by the use of corrective lenses, to a level that is normally acceptable for reading without a special level or kind of light.

What about including music?

If you want to use music in your recordings you should be aware that the rules prevent random use of music. You must avoid breaching the laws of copyright.

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