A new home is needed for talking news service

A SERVICE which produces news and lifestyle recordings for the blind is about to become homeless.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 5th March 2016, 6:00 am
From left, Brian Kidd, Janet Crabtree, Pat Huxtable, Diana Villar, Margaret Gibbs, Simon Davis, Chris Golding and Trevor Muston Picture: Sarah Standing (160463-5586)

Portsmouth Area Talking News (PATN) has to leave its studio by April 1, and the service will finish if a new home cannot be found.

PATN chairman Chris Golding said the studio was in the grounds of the Portsmouth Association for the Blind in Stubbington Avenue, North End, and because the association planned to sell its premises the talking news service also had to go.

Mr Golding, 67, from Cosham, said: ‘We’ve got to take all our equipment and try to find a new premises.

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‘We don’t need anything very big and we’re extremely adaptable.’

PATN has been running for 40 years and currently has a team of about 40 volunteers, who produce recordings for more than 450 listeners.

Mr Golding said he was hopeful a new home could be found. He said: ‘We would need a room about 4m by 5m that could be soundproofed.

‘We would like to use any space offered for recording and uploading, so we would need to put in our computers and possibly broadband connections or connect to a local network if able.’

Mr Golding said the current studio was built in 1983, and it had been leased from the Portsmouth Association for the Blind since then.

Under the agreement, if the association wanted to sell its property the ownership of the studio would revert to them.

The volunteers record stories from publications including The News, Out and About Magazine, Navy News and Wren Magazine, which are then distributed to blind people through the post.

There are also recordings made about life in Hampshire, women’s issues, Petersfield and events from the past.

After recording its material on audio cassettes for 30 years, PATN went digital in 2008, being one of the first such services in southern England to make the switch to memory sticks.

Anyone who might be able to help is asked to call (023) 9269 0851 or e-mail [email protected] To learn more about the service visit patn.org.uk.