Cole-Hamilton Welcomes New Alexa App For Visually Impaired People

Back in 1983, Cue and Review started recording weekly cassette tapes of newspapers, and have now launched a talking newspaper - Alexa skill. It can be accessed via where you can add the live skill to your Alexa.

Edinburgh Western MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton, said:

“I’m delighted to hear that this service has been expanded. I’d encourage those who are reading or visually impaired to try it out so they are able to access local newspapers via the updated app. We have a great journalism industry and it should be accessible to as many as possible. If you are considering volunteering to help, please do get in touch via the website.”

Alastair McPhee the founder of the charity in 1982, said:

“Talking newspapers for the blind are highly dependent on volunteer readers. In this our 39th year I personally wish to applaud the commitment of those volunteers who, over the last 17 months, have learned how to record and upload articles from home - a whole new skill for many of them. I especially appreciate those colleagues who have been tech support for the team, advising on how to improve the recording environment while also demonstrating remotely how to use recording software. The additional readers recruited during Lockdown have not only meant our core team can take the occasional break but also that that we can expand the articles read from Inside Soap, Herald Scotland, Glasgow Evening Times and The National.

Working with the British Wireless for the Blind Fund in recent years has meant that visually impaired people can not only access our service via the internet radio boxes provided by BWBF. They can also access the service on their computer, the phone app, and now Alexa, it really is that easy to access our daily service.

Volunteer readers need to have clear reading voices but there are many ways in which you can work with our team from your home as well as our base in Bishopbriggs. With 188,000 registered blind people in Scotland, taking posters to your local health centre, talking to a local group or helping promote us in your local shops are all great ways to increase awareness of our talking newspaper service. (”.

Cue and Review Chair Amy Ogungbemi said:

“I am so proud that our team were able to secure this grant, enabling four charities to benefit by increasing awareness and access to talking newspapers, as members of the Talking Newspaper Federation and long-term supporters of the digital projects developed by BWBF. With past readers being supporters of Erskine, we are excited to know that not only Cue and Review titles but the wider Scottish TN network will be heard on Alexa by the veterans at Erskine before being further rolled out.”

Margaret Grainger of BWBF said:

“We, at British Wireless for the Blind Fund, are delighted to be working with Cue and Review on the new Alexa skill. It is going to be a huge benefit to all Cue and Review listeners and to those people in the Erskine Care homes in the initial stage. As well as the wider community as the project progresses. Changing people’s lives is the centre of what we do and by working with Cue and Review we will, together, make this happen.

Gordon Stevenson of Erskine Veterans Charity said:

“We have four care facilities across Scotland, and we would like, as a phase 1, to put Alexa speakers in every communal area of these four homes Phase 2, would provide every single Veteran with their own Alexa to listen to Erskine Veterans Radio station at will, and use it for other purposes also including talking newspapers, to keep them connected and informed. Our residents, and particularly those with dementia, will benefit greatly from regressive music therapy, amongst a whole raft of other benefits. In the very short term, this also provides an engaging link between Veterans and families during the continued Covid restrictions via our radio show, launched in May. Alexa is more widely adopted than any other smart audio device, and from an accessibility aspect, wins hands down for ease of use and household penetration.”

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