Touch to See books to support isolated blind people in this time of crisis.
Your donation of £20 could provide an isolated blind person with Touch to See books for the next four months.
Imagine being in your 80’s, living alone, and suddenly being told you cannot leave your home or see anyone for the next three months. Now imagine that you cannot see, you can’t read a book, you can’t look into your garden and see the birds and trees, you can’t go to the shops to buy food, you can’t easily use the internet. This is the daunting prospect faced by thousands of older blind and partially sighted people across the UK right now in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
At Living Paintings we can help. We create Touch to See books that are used by thousands of blind and partially sighted people to bring the visual world to life. They are sent out from our completely free postal library which is still fully operational and available for any visually impaired person to benefit from.
Our unique books include raised images and immersive audio recordings which are often voiced by professional actors and personalities. This combination of touch and sound makes up for the missing sense of sight and helps blind and partially sighted people to understand and feel part of the world around them.
Boxes of magic from Living Paintings
73 year old Library member Danni describes our unique Touch to see books as “boxes of magic” which provide great comfort in this time of isolation. The voices on the audio descriptions “are like my real friends that guide me through these magical places. It feels as though I have friends with me at home”. She says;
“From my sofa I can visit art galleries, I can visit gardens, I can go bird watching. I can be taken out of myself and into another world, I can travel the world!"
Demand for our service is increasing
The demand for our service is increasing and will continue to do so over the coming months. We are committed to being there for our library members in these unprecedented and worrying times. Older and vulnerable library members who are having to self-isolate need our books more than ever to connect to the world and help keep their spirits up. Parents of blind and partially sighted children need our books to help continue their children’s education at home during school closures and periods of self-isolation – as many blind and partially sighted children have additional serious medical conditions they will often need to completely self-isolate over the coming months.
Eight year old library member Tayen is blind and going through chemotherapy for a condition called neurofibromatosis . On medical advice she and her brothers are now in isolation, but she was over the moon to receive two boxes of new books from Living Paintings, she wasted no time getting all of the books out! Tayen's mum told us "I can’t explain just how happy those boxes made her this week. Tayen doesn’t cope well with any changes to her routine so was very upset but she knows what these boxes of books are, they don’t change and I know she felt comforted and reassured by them".
Stepping up our support in challenging times
We are carrying on with our usual service, offering our books to new members who could benefit, and offering extra support for our older and more vulnerable library members to help ease their isolation. We’ll be calling regularly to check in on them. We’ll also be giving extra support to parents of blind and partially sighted children to use our books at home. This increase in need comes at a time when we are struggling to cope with the loss of income from cancelled fundraising events, and the loss of volunteers who usually help send out our books and produce new books.
That’s why we urgently need your donations today. If we can raise £25,000 we can promise to be there for the thousands of blind and partially sighted people we support.
- £20 could pay for one library member to receive as many of our books as they wish over the next four months.
- £88 could pay for one copy of a new Touch to See short story book for adults.
We understand that not everybody will be able to help us financially, you can also help by spreading the word about our work - we want to reach as many people as we can over the coming months.
Thank you for your support.
More about Living Paintings
There are two million blind and partially sighted people in the UK. Moreover, every 15 minutes someone is told that they will lose their sight, including 4 children every day. It’s a devastating diagnosis, leaving parents uncertain as to how their child can join in with story time, follow school work with their sighted peers, and most importantly make friends. As well as the educational impact, blind children face social exclusion as they struggle to join in conversations about the visually informed subjects that are the basis for so much social interaction. And for older people, who often live alone, blindness can lead to life shattering isolation, leaving them cut off from the world around them.
Our books are lent out to visually impaired children and adults across the UK through our postal service - our beneficiaries can borrow as many books as they like and the service is completely free. From the littlest fingers through to older people who suffer sight loss, our books are designed for sharing - in class with sighted peers, at home with family and friends.
Our work changes lives and the stats speak volumes: 98% of blind children have reported improved confidence; 98% have attained an increased interest in learning; 95% benefited from an improved confidence in reading while 97% have benefitted from an increase in shared experiences with sighted friends, family and peers.
"Living Paintings enabled our daughter to feel part of the everyday world that everyone else takes for granted. Being blind is incredibly isolating, but the Touch to See books ensured that other children took an interest in how she read. The books give her a positive view of reading and of herself, which is incredibly important for her mental health." Mother of Emily
Living Paintings’ Touch to See books, with their raised images and wonderful, immersive soundtracks provide a unique understanding of the visual world for those who cannot see. We invite you to look at a short video of how our Touch to See books are made: