AN important charity which helps blind and visually impaired people stay connected to the community is hoping to raise its profile.

Bury Pipeline, which every week creates ‘talking newspapers’ to deliver the news to those who can’t see a newspaper, recently received a special visit from the mayor of Bury.

But chairman Jean Spencer still wants to raise the charity’s profile, to make sure anybody who wants to us the service can.

Mrs Spencer said: “It was great to have the mayor here and hopefully it will help to highlight our cause.

“Over the years we have done well, we had quite a large committee but none of us are getting any younger and it is getting harder to raise the funds.

“At the moment we don’t really need any more volunteers, but you never know, depending on the outcome of the libraries closures.”

The charity lost volunteers last July when it had to move to Tottington Library after the closure of Seedfield Resource Centre.

Several volunteers came from the south of the borough and could no longer manage to travel the distance.

If Tottington Library closes too, it may cause similar problems.

Each week Bury Pipeline creates ‘talking newspapers’, with volunteers reading and recording the Bury Times, Radcliffe Times and Prestwich and Whitefield Guide.

CDs and memory sticks on which the news is recorded are then sent to users across the borough in the post, for free.

They usually receive the news on Saturday morning, after the Thursday that the papers come out.

Around 150 blind or visually impaired people across the borough use the service, a figure down from around 300 in the service’s heyday in the 1980s.

Mrs Spencer said the ‘Looking Back’ sections of the newspapers are very popular with older readers who like to reminisce about times gone by.

But she added it is also important to get a balance between more serious news stories and more light-hearted ones.

She said crime stories involving elderly victims are particularly important, because they remind readers to be vigilant.

“This service is very important for the people who use it, who are often living on their own.

“It is lovely for them to be able to discuss with friends and family what is going on locally.

“Without the talking newspaper, blind and visually impaired people could be very cut off from the community.”

Mrs Spencer said the charity regularly sends out the Bury Times in audio format across the country, with one listener in her 90s in Oxfordshire.

“She moved down there to be with family, but through the talking newspaper she still feels connected to her home town,” said Mrs Spencer.

The charity does not receive any funding and relies solely on donations.

For more information about the service, or to donate, please contact Mrs Spencer on 01706 824401.