SHEILA Maguire can’t read her local newspaper because of problems with her sight.

But she sometimes knows more about what’s going on locally than friends do – thanks to a talking newspaper charity for the blind and partially sighted.

Every week, the Paisley pensioner, who’s in her 80s, looks forward to receiving a small USB flash drive from Renfrewshire Sound, which she plugs into a USB player and speaker and listens to all the news from the pages of local newspapers.

Sheila has been using the free Renfrewshire Sound service for five years, but she was well aware of the good work the organisation does long before that.

Both her daughter, Anne and her late husband, Bill had been volunteers reading the news from local media outlets and recording it on to CDs and flash drives.

Now Renfrewshire Sound is appealing for –

  • donations to help keep the service going to around 130 people who are blind or partially sighted;
  •  volunteers who would be trained to read and record the news from newspaper editions;
  •  and people who have sight issues to come forward if they want to receive their local news in the talking newspaper format.

Sheila said: “In the 1980s my late husband, Bill used to run our daughter to Renfrewshire Sound and sit waiting for her to finish her recording session reading the local newspapers.

“Then one night he decided he would put this waiting time to good use and he volunteered to read the news as well. Bill carried on volunteering for almost 20 years after that.

“Bill used to read out all the sports stories and one day we were in a supermarket and someone who heard us talking turned to Bill and said ‘I recognise that voice. You’re the man who reads out all the sports news!’.”

Sheila continued: “At the time I never realised that one day I would need to use the talking newspaper service, but with my eyesight deteriorating, it’s become very important to me.

“I would miss it if I didn’t have the flash drives being delivered to me so I could listen to all the local news and stories about Paisley’s history.

“With Renfrewshire Sound you get all the news that you wouldn’t get on national radio or television.

“Sometimes I’m better informed about what’s going on locally than some of my friends who can read the papers.”

Renfrewshire Sound’s recording studio is in Barscube Terrace, in Hunterhill, Paisley. They send out more than 30 USB sticks and CDs to people who are blind or partially sighted every week and around 100 others access the service online. They have around a dozen regular volunteers who read and record the news every week.

Ian Glover is the chairman of Renfrewshire Sound, which started in 1981. He said: “It takes more than £5000 a year to keep the free service going and we rely solely on grant funding and donations from the public.

“Any money we get is gratefully received and every penny goes to making sure the service continues.

“We’d also love to hear from people who would be willing to volunteer to read the news. You don’t need to be a professional broadcaster and after a couple of hours training the new volunteers would be ready to get in front of the mic.

“But the most important people are the folks we serve to give them access their local news through our talking newspaper. We want more people to benefit from our service.

“For many people, we’re how they get to know what’s going on outside their front door, at the end of their street and in their town.”

Donations to Renfrewshire sound can be made online through Paypal or with debit and credit cards at


Founder of in 1998 and constantly strives to change peoples attitudes to the town, Brian is a self described Paisley Digital Champion who promotes Paisley via any means necessary. You can also follow me on X