IT is a service which is going to help thousands of people keep up with the latest news across the county.

Blind and partially-sighted people can now pick up free audio versions of magazines and newspapers – thanks to a new service launched by Hampshire County Council.

The National Talking Newspapers and Magazines will give access to more than 150 audio versions of national newspapers and magazines.

They will be available from libraries and Discovery Centres across Hampshire.

Councillor Keith Chapman, the executive member for culture and recreation, said: “This is a wonderful service for people who have difficulty reading print due to sight loss or other conditions.

“With more than 150 national titles available, there is something for all tastes and interests.

Cllr Chapman added: “Accessing these titles is also very easy.

“People can simply bring a memory stick to any Hampshire library, choose their magazines and newspapers, and staff will download them. The whole process only takes a few minutes.”

Jack Bevington, academic support worker for Access Solent, believes the scheme will be a success.

He said: “I work closely with blind and partially- sighted students. This service will be a fantastic addition to the technology available and will benefit them immensely.”

The new service also complements the magazines for loan service that has been piloted and is now available in 25 Hampshire libraries and Discovery Centres.