Providing ray of light for visually impaired

Afternoon tea for BEAM's 30th Anniversary.
Afternoon tea for BEAM's 30th Anniversary.

A team of dedicated volunteers who provide an audio version of the local newspaper celebrated their 25th

anniversary recently.

Sixty guests, mainly volunteer readers and recorders but also some blind and partially sighted listeners, enjoyed a special afternoon tea at Dobbies Garden Centre in Milngavie on Saturday, August 22.

In 1990 the Christian Service Committee of what is now Bearsden Cross Church set out to provide a service to the community and decided that starting an audio version of the Milngavie and Bearsden Herald would be a worthwhile project.

Realising that Bearsden and Milngavie Talking Newspaper Association was a long title for everyday use, Ann Keddie, one of the founding members, suggested BEAM as their name – a ray of light for the visually impaired in the community of Bearsden and Milngavie.

Twenty five years on, BEAM has about 50 volunteers reading, copying and distributing on average 150 audio sticks every month - covering not only the Milngavie and Bearden Herald but also material from the Community Magazine, Scottish Book Trust stories, Grace Notes and Infosound material for the blind and partially sighted.

Based in Bearsden Cross Church, BEAM has strong volunteer and financial support from other congregations of all denominations across the community.

One of the volunteers, Alisdair Meldrum, said: “Despite improvements in eye care in recent years, there will always be folk in need of our service and we would be glad to hear from new potential listeners and volunteers.”

Call the secretary, Desnee Ashley on 0141 942 4231.