The Stockport Talking Newspaper Association was founded on the 4th May 1977 by the late Mr Granville Jones, an optician from Offerton, Stockport.
However, it was back in 1974 that Stockport Institute for the Blind heard that Macclesfield had a Talking Newspaper and they thought that Stockport should have one. Granville Jones was asked to visit Macclesfield on a fact-finding visit. A report was duly submitted with an estimate of likely costs. The Institute said they could not afford it and shelved the idea.This set Granville on a two year programme of lobbying family, friends and voluntary organisations to recruit volunteers and raise funds. He had sufficient success to form a Committee in 1976. The first demonstration cassette tape was made by Ted Corbett, the then Stockport Express News Editor, Granville and his wife sitting on the lounge floor of the Jones’ home with their son as technician. A survey of local blind and partially sighted people revealed that 200 wished to receive the Newspaper but only 57 already had a tape recorder. A meeting of potential volunteers was called and they were divided into four teams. Each team was given a date when they would be required for duty which included delivering by hand the tapes to the 57 people with recorders and instructions to post the tape back in time for it to be re-recorded on. So on 4th May 1977, in Walthew House, Stockport Talking Newspaper (STN) was born.By September 1978 the circulation was around 200.The one thousandth recording was clocked up on 8th May 1997 and by then approximately 250,000 tapes had been issued.It was reported in the Stockport Express dated 26th July 2000 that “The Talking Newspaper may have to close through lack of funds”. A public appeal for funds was so successful that the financial situation was eased and in 2002 a grant from the Community Trust Fund enabled the purchase of some new equipment. In 2005 Ann Coffey MP stepped in to help with publicity, stating in the Stockport Express, “It’s easy to take for granted that we can just pick up a copy of the Stockport Express and read it. The Stockport Talking Newspaper is a wonderful service for those who don’t have that luxury.”Following numerous donations, in 2007 STN entered the “Digital Age” by recording to computer software that enabled each edition to be distributed on compact disc as well as cassette tape. The opening of this new facility was attended by the Mayor of Stockport and Cheadle MP, Mark Hunter.In May 2009 a new recording studio was opened within Walthew House at a cost of £7,000. This has a sound-proofed booth which eliminates extraneous sounds such as aeroplane and traffic noise.
In 2015 we began to produce the recordings on Memory Sticks. These can be played on computer or our special players, which we provide on long-term free loan to all listeners.
As well as the weekly output of local news, we also include an hour’s sample of an RNIB audio publication, such as Good Housekeeping, Which, BBC History, plus regular “Infosound” about relevant Visually Impaired matters.
Twice each month we compile a comprehensive list of local events called What’s On which is circulated in audio form on the memory sticks.
Each month we create a unique audio magazine for listeners, with articles, poems, interviews, a crossword etc. Our subjects are largely, but not entirely Stopfordian – people, history, groups, places and events.
Our charitable service to the blind and Visually Impaired community continues to be free of charge, provided by a team of dedicated Stockport Talking Newspaper volunteers from our Walthew House studio.