Our history

We were founded in the spring of 1980, following an initiative of the Kidderminster and District Lions Club. The Lions have a worldwide commitment to improve the lives of people with visual impairment. They have continued to give us moral support and make periodic financial donations ever since.

The beginnings were modest – a guinea pig group of 6 listeners. Within a week the group had grown to 24 – guinea pigs breed very quickly it seems.

The first recordings were done on domestic machines in a variety of premises – mostly homes, where domestic noises off like clocks and doorbells, pets and children could be heard in the background.

Of course in those conditions it took 90 minutes to copy a 90-minute tape, so the pioneers worked long into the morning. Now we have changed to digital recording and memory sticks,  we are normally home by 10.15pm

The number of volunteers leapt quickly to 50 and has remained at about that level ever since. A number of them have stayed with us for over 25 years, because we have a good time on Friday evenings recording and copying the master recordings on which we put stories from the week’s Kidderminster Shuttle Times and News.

Our first proper home for 10 years was in the basement of a care home in Kinver.

We then spent several years at Lea Castle hospital and at the Social Education Centre opposite Kidderminster Police Station.

We had to leave these premises (which had been rent-free), where we had established excellent recording facilities in the autumn of 2007, when we came very close to closure because of a lack of facilities. We were saved from this by the Principal of Baxter College, who gave us a temporary home.

In November 2008 we moved to our current home in rented rooms in Franche, where we have established an excellent recording studio. We hope we will be there for a very long time.