by Taylor Robertson

A CHARITY for the visually impaired has received positive feedback thanks to a technology update.

A recent donation of £1,000 from Clydebank Rotary Club allowed Bankie Talk to start transferring its content from compact disc to USB sticks.

Bankie Talk, was set up in Clydebank in 1989 to provide visually impaired people with access to coverage of local news and events.

Carol Ann Gallagher, the charity’s chairperson, said: “I went to one client who was using CD but she’s getting older – she’s getting slightly forgetful.

“We brought the new machine, and her family said what a difference it made.

“She was getting fed up with CDs and having problems playing them – now all she does is pop her stick in.

“She’s actually eating better, she’s appearing more interested in life, and she said it’s made such a difference to her.”

Wendy Cannon, treasurer of the charity, told the Post: “It’s a slow process, but we’re getting there. A high percentage of our clients are elderly so we are supplying them with the technology to use the memory sticks and showing them how to work everything.”

Carol Ann, who has been chairperson for 20 years, explained: “We’ve got to run in tandem for a while. Eventually, we’ll have them all over, but initially they’ve got to run in tandem.”

The Rotarians have also promised the charity an additional £1,000 donation, which Bankie Talk is extremely grateful for.

Treasurer Wendy said: “It becomes more and more difficult as the years go on to get the funding.

“That’s why the money from the Rotary was so welcome as it allowed us to modernise. It’s money we wouldn’t have had.”

The charity currently delivers a talking version of the Post and a range of audiobooks to more than 100 people.

Carol Ann added: “When I started, we had 18 books – now we have thousands. Nobody ever gets the same book twice.”

The majority of the group’s clients are based within the Clydebank area, however, the charity also sends the newspaper to Bankies living further afield in cities across Scotland and England.

Bankie Talk is dedicated to providing people who have visual impairments with means to access information without having to depend on others.

Wendy said: “Independence is such an important part of their life. Very few people want to sit in a corner and get people to do things for them.”

Carol Ann said: “It’s important that they know what’s going on in their own community.”

The non-profit organisation is also wholly committed to meeting the needs of people using its service.

“We once had someone ask us to read out what was on at the cinema each week, so we did,” Carol Ann said.

“She didn’t want to know about the audio description screenings, just the regular ones. We then had people asking us why we were doing it.

“If our clients ask for something, we give them it.”

Bankie Talk is run entirely by volunteers, mostly retired teachers and social workers.

The charity is currently on the lookout for members of the community who have some spare time to help them update their website.

Carol Ann said: “We’re not the best at IT but we can do the basics.”

Wendy added: “We’re always looking for volunteers. We have all sorts of jobs to do.”

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