MSPs speak up for talking newspaper

Borders MSP Rachael Hamilton with Borders Talking Newspapers volunteers in the Holyrood chamber.
Borders MSP Rachael Hamilton with Borders Talking Newspapers volunteers in the Holyrood chamber.

Borders Talking Newspaper (BTN) was the talk of the Scottish Parliament when local MSP Rachael Hamilton raised a member’s debate to recognise and congratulate BTN on its 25th anniversary.

The newspaper, which is based in Duns and Hawick, is a vital resource for people who are completely blind or have visual impairments and want to keep up with local news and issues.

A group of 15 volunteers, several of whom had not visited the parliament before, were in the public gallery to hear the debate.

Rachael recognised the effort of founder Matilda Mitchell, manager Wendy Moss and many volunteers who, over the years, have made sure the recordings are sent out weekly at no cost to listeners.

Christine Grahame MSP had also lodged a motion about BTN, which underlined the service’s importance across their neighbouring constituencies. She noted that talking newspapers are below the radar of most folk. However, they form part of the backbone of a local community, providing local news, gossip, events information and more, stopping that feeling of being isolated and excluded from everything local.

Another Borders MSP, Michelle Ballantyne, said BTN’s longevity was testament to the volunteers’ unwavering passion for and commitment to the service that they provide.

Anyone who would like to get the talking newspaper free of charge, or can volunteer time to help produce the paper, should contact the office on 01361 884206 or office@btn.org.uk.

z The photograph shows Rachael Hamilton with BTN volunteers in the Holyrood chamber.