Brent Council urged to give financial help to cash-strapped organisation for the visually impaired

Kiran Talking Newspaper is facing closure

A charity worker who has dedicated his life to helping the borough’s visually impaired has challenged Brent Council to provide financial support for his organisation or risk it closing.

Jayant Patel, honorary secretary of the Brent Visually Handicapped Group and chairman of the Kiran Talking Newspaper, has called on the local authority to back their work by providing the funds to digitise the service.

The talking newspaper, established in the 1970s, sends out around 200 cassettes every week to blind and partially sighted residents, keeping them updated on news, sport and entertainment in the local area.

However, Mr Patel has claimed that the casettes are out-of-date, easily worn down and impose a limit on the amount of news available.

He told the Times: “Digitisation is a must. Cassettes are on the way out. People use them less and less and they are not cost-effective.

“If we can do it, we can provide a fuller, clearer and better service for what is a complete lifeline for many.”

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Under a digital service, the charity will provide residents with memory sticks which can be constantly updated.

He added: “People with sight might not think this is a big deal but put yourself in their position and you would realise what a lifesaver the talking newspaper can be.”

Mr Patel, who lives in Finchley, was given a community champion award by Brent Council last month.

However, he issued a rallying call to council bosses to address the problem.

A spokesman for Brent Council said they had received an application for Ward Working funding on behalf of the charity which was being considered and that the Kiran Talking Newspapers had received funding from the Edward Harvist Trust last year.

He added: “The council would be happy to consider a formal funding application from these organisations when the next funding rounds open and would be glad to help with making applications for funding from Brent or elsewhere.”