IT is the start of a new era for two charities for the visually impaired that have upped sticks and moved across town.

Bolton Newstalk, an audio version of The Bolton News for visually impaired people, and Bolton Society for Blind People (BSBP), have both moved to The Sensory Centre at Thicketford in Ainsworth Lane, Tonge Moor.

Both charities were originally based at The Sensory Centre in Chorley Street.

Bolton Newstalk produces weekly audio recordings of The Bolton News for up to 250 listeners who have been referred by doctors as visually impaired and boasts a team of 100 volunteers.

In addition, it produces recordings for BSBP, North West Ambulance Service and Transport for Greater Manchester.

It will record the first episode from its new base on Sunday evening, which will be released on Monday morning. Michael Tatman, senior producer of Bolton Newstalk, has worked for the charity since 1976.

He said: “The studio is brand new — it looks superb. It has been carefully adjusted to our needs, it’s spacious and it’s secure. So far, we are very pleased with it.

“We are still setting up as we speak. Our engineer is hooking everything up — microphones, recording equipment, mixing decks and computers.

"We are looking to expand and recruit more volunteers. We are happy to offer our services to anyone who needs it.

"Our listeners say ‘it’s like a friend dropping in’ and they feel as though they are involved with what is going on in the community.”

Bolton Newstalk’s neighbour, BSBP, provides services to more than 1,000 blind and partially sighted adults. The charity, which was established in the late 1940s, provides information and advice for those with sight loss and their families.

Justine Watson, charity co-ordinator at BSBP, said: “Our new centre is very accommodating and we are very excited to be moving in with Bolton Newstalk. We have had a relationship with them for a number of years.

“It has been quite a challenge to ensure that everybody is updated on our new location, but we will be settled in, in no time.”

An open day will be held at the centre to allow visitors to have at BSBP and Bolton Newstalk’s new facilities.

It will be held from 10am until 3pm on Thursday, May 22, and will include a visit from the Mayor of Bolton Cllr Colin Shaw.