Health, disability & well-being

Funding level: Up to £1,000


Imagine being told that you are losing your sight. What would you do if you couldn't see to read? How would you cope? Where would you go for support? You could go to Braille IT.

Braille IT is a Lancashire based project which runs free Braille classes for blind or visually impaired adults, parents and carers and adults supporting blind children in schools or colleges. There are classes in Accrington, Blackburn, Burnley, Clitheroe, Chorley and Haslingden.

At each class there are access to all the resources you need, a Perkins Brailler, braille paper, braille books and most important of all volunteers who are there to teach and support you. The Braille IT Skills Programme is accredited by Open Awards.

Braille IT is run by volunteers most of whom are blind themselves. Many of the volunteers started by coming to Braille IT to learn braille and then carried on coming so they could support others to learn braille.

Blindness is an access disability and can be very isolating because of the difficulties it causes with mobility and access to information. For adults who are losing their sight the classes provide an opportunity to acquire new skills, not just braille but also to find out hints and tips from other adults who understand and have overcome the difficulties blind people can face.

For parents of blind children it is an opportunity to meet competent, independent, blind adults who are able to travel around Lancashire to classes with a cane or a guide dog - whilst learning braille so they can support their child with their school work.

Likewise adults who work with blind children in schools or colleges learn the braille skills they need to provide effective support and develop high expectations for blind young people.

In addition to the day to day running costs for venues, paper and travel expenses, Braille IT also has to buy and maintain the braillers. Just one Perkins Brailler costs over £600 and a Perkins Smart Brailler which can speak what you are brailling is £1800!

Braille IT won the Queen's Award for Voluntary Groups this year but only has funding to run until the end of 2016.

Please vote for Braille IT so we can continue brailling in 2017!

Braille IT

Location: Burnley

Learning braille is empowering, builds self confidence and provides access to information that sighted people take for granted. The volunteers who give their time make this happen.

One Braille IT student said
"The programme has opened new areas to me that I had not thought possible."
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