Seeing Ear

We are a charity dedicated to helping those people who want to read but are unable to use printed books

About

We run the National Accessible Library. Books in the National Accessible Library are available free of charge to anyone in the UK who is blind, has an impairment of visual function which cannot be improved by the use of corrective lenses, is unable through physical disability to hold or manipulate a book, or suffers from print blindness caused by dyslexia.

All our books can be read as giant print, Braille and synthetic speech, and they can be accessed on computers, tablets or internet audio players designed specifically for visually impaired people.

Our up-to-date collection of copyrighted books are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week via the internet, and the collections include best sellers, romance, history, humour, adventure as well as self-help guides and school text books.

Operational team

Seeing Ear was set up by Tony Dart in 2005 and he is now Chief Executive Officer for the charity. Tony set up Seeing Ear as a result of working with visually impaired people who were experiencing problems with alternative reading formats.

We have a team of eight staff at our head office in East Sussex, and we have approximately 260 volunteers who work either in our head office or remotely from home.

Our Users

There are almost two million people living in the UK living with sight loss. This figure includes around 360,000 people registered as blind or partially sighted in the UK, who have severe and irreversible sight loss (Action for Blind People).

Reading for pleasure increases a sense of achievement and self-esteem, widens horizons, can be done anywhere, develops relationships, promotes inclusion, prevents boredom and encourages relaxation. Frustratingly for readers who are visually disabled, if books are even published in a special format it is more often than not considerably later than those in standard print, and it is Seeing Ear’s aim to ensure that they don’t miss out.

Recent feedback

  • The emails are excellent, especially for one of my pupils who has been listening to most of your text files on his Streamer. He loves when he can sit and read the email and find out what wonderful new books he can listen to. I would recommend Seeing Ear and your emails to everyone with a visual impairment. Thank you!

    AD (Book Club email trial, June 2016)
  • Seeing Ear is making possible for print disabled people something most people take for granted - the ability to enjoy reading a really good book.

    John, Seeing Ear Volunteer (December, 2016)
  • Thank so much for all the books (16 in total this month!) that you have prepared for Erin. All I need to do now is print them for her, it has saved me many hours of modification.

    Kim, teaching assistant (November 2016)
  • This library is fantastic. A great collection to suit all tastes. Something for myself and also books I can read to my kids. I have been partially sighted since birth and need N20 minimum to read comfortably. You can’t easily buy books that size. With Seeing Ear I can read books on my tablet at a comfortable size. Thank you.

    HG (September 2016)

Volunteering

Volunteering is at the very heart of Seeing Ear. It is thanks to the hard work, enthusiasm and commitment of all our volunteers that we are able to provide such a useful service to so many people with a print disability.

Volunteering offers the chance to give something back to the community and to make a difference to the lives of people who need support, but at the same time it’s a great way to develop new skills and share knowledge and experience. We have opportunities for volunteers to either work at our Head Office in East Sussex or work on their own computer from home. Some volunteers do both! Please email us on support@seeingear.org to find out what roles we currently have on offer.

Fundraising

Blind and partially sighted readers face a dramatically limited choice of book titles, with only 7% of published books available in large print, unabridged audio and Braille, and it is Seeing Ear’s aim to ensure that these people don’t miss out.

We make no charge to our subscribers and receive no statutory funding. We therefore rely totally on the generous patronage of trusts, corporate and individual fundraisers who have been so supportive of what we have achieved since the charity started in 2005.

If you are interested in supporting the work of Seeing Ear we would love to hear from you. Please contact fundraising@seeingear.org

News

  • Facebook news

  • Report on our School Librarian project

  • Volunteer week celebrations

  • Our latest creative writing anthology

  • From 1-7 June, it is Volunteer’s Week across the county! We are so thankful to all of our volunteers who help to add books onto the National Accessible Library.

    To celebrate, we will be having lots of tea and cake in our offices in Battle for our Book Scanning Volunteers, as well as sharing reasons why our volunteers give their time on Social Media. It’s always great to hear what motivates our volunteers:

    “I volunteer because everyone deserves the chance to experience the absolute joy of reading!” – Heather, Online Library Volunteer

  • Why not support our work by buying a copy of our latest anthology of poems and short stories? It will help us improve our library of accessible books.

    This anthology is the result of our third creative writing competition in 2016.

    The book is 136 pages, perfect bound. It contains the winning entries for each category, the two runners up for each category, a selection of the work of other entrants as well as comments from all of the judges on the Winners/Runners Up entries.


    Quantity



  • Here are the 6 books which made the 2015 Man Brooker Prize Shortlist, all now available to download from our library:

    1. A Spool of Blue Thread
    2. Satin Island
    3. A Little Life
    4. The Fishermen
    5. A Brief History of Seven Killings
    6. The Year of the Runaways

    Enjoy!