Blind Brighton woman couldn't read letter saying talking books service would end

Posted On 09 Feb 2012 at 5:50 pm

A blind woman made a heartfelt plea to Brighton and Hove councillors not to end funding for a talking books service.

Diane Fazackarley, 50, of Upper Bevendean, said that she was notified that the service would end by post.

She told a Brighton and Hove City Council cabinet meeting: “The actual letter that came to tell me you were stopping it came to me in print which is not very accessible.

“I’m totally blind. I can’t read it.”

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She said that the letter suggested using local libraries or paying the high price of mobile books themselves – and that she was presenting a petition to oppose the funding cut.

She said that the funding for the Royal National Institute for the Blind service was a lifeline to her and about 170 others in the same position.

“It’s hard enough to find the money to pay for food,” she said.

“I’ve used the talking book service for 22 years.

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“It takes me out of myself, particularly since my husband died.

“You could have maybe offered more options, not just written to us and said you’re going to stop it. Tough!

“I generally get through about two books a week.

“I just wish you’d change your mind and let us have our talking books service.”

Councillor Geoffrey Bowden, the cabinet member for culture, said that there were braille and audio versions of the letter but the print copy had reached people first.

He said: “We’ve got funding to ensure that anyone who wants talking books will still be able to have them.

“We’re also in discussions with the RNIB to see how we can work with them in the future.”

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