It is with great sadness that we have to announce that our friends at the South Wales Talking Magazine Association are closing down their services after 50 years of operation. They have been with us, as a separate independent charity, from the very early days in 1972 when our Council granted them accommodation in our building in Shand House, Fitzalan Place, Cardiff. Their association with us continued when we made the move to Jones Court.
Through five decades, the Association has been providing blind and partially sighted people throughout South Wales with a monthly talking magazine and a weekly Cardiff talking newspaper. The service was the idea of the late Jack Treeby of Whitchurch, Cardiff. In 1971, as someone beginning to lose his sight as a result of glaucoma, he felt that as well as Talking Books for the Blind, there was a need for more local information. Jack called a public meeting at the Cardiff Institute for the Blind, and as a result of that, the Association was formed as an independent voluntary charity to produce talking magazines and newspapers for the South Wales area. This was one of the first talking newspapers and the idea grew nationally throughout the United Kingdom.
Now things are very different, and people get the news from a much wider range of sources than 50 years ago when talking newspapers were being established. The number of listeners receiving the service has decreased dramatically as has the number of volunteers providing the service.
As a result, the trustees have decided to wind up the Association whilst at the same time celebrating 50 years of service. A 50th anniversary dinner will be held in the autumn and the conference of the Talking Newspaper Federation will take place in Cardiff this year, celebrating Wales as the birthplace of talking newspapers. Also, a booklet will be published containing 50 years of press cuttings documenting the history of the Association and there will be a special CD containing highlights taken from the Talking Magazine archive.