Martin Whitfield MSP has commended Cue and Review, a talking newspapers daily service in Scotland, on securing £50,485 from the Scottish Government’s Community Recovery Fund through the National Lottery Community Fund to work on a joint project with the British Wireless for the Blind Fund (BWBF) to produce an Alex Skill “Talking Newspaper”.

The MSP welcomed the app, which allows visually and reading impaired users to access talking newspapers and magazines from all over the UK using their Alexa device.

Martin Whitfield MSP said:

“The Alexa Skill app is a fantastic new service for visually and reading impaired people, with many titles from the South of Scotland included. I congratulate Cue and Review and their partners on securing the funding for this very worthwhile project and encourage anyone who might benefit to look into using the app now.”

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.”

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.”

Donald Martin, Editor-in-Chief, Newsquest Scotland, said:

“We are delighted to support the outstanding work at Cue and Review and applaud this valuable new initiative. It will help modernise the service and more importantly allow more people easy access to it.”

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.”

Visit www.printtoaudio.org for more information about the Alexa Skill App and Cue and Review.