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Page last updated at 13:39 GMT, Monday, 22 November 2010
Council cuts RNIB's Talking Books service for the blind
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The RNIB's Talking Books service has been going for 75 years

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has announced that it is ending its subsidy of the Talking Books service.

The scheme, run by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), delivers audio books to the homes of blind and partially sighted people.

The RNIB have labelled the cuts as "miserly, unfair and unnecessary" and says that local people will suffer.

The city council insists that talking books can still be borrowed free of charge from the city's libraries.

A Stoke-on-Trent City Council spokesman said: "In the current climate it is not possible to offer subsidised subscriptions to the RNIB scheme. The city council already offers its own free talking book scheme which can be delivered for those not able to visit the library.

"We are currently talking to all of our service users to explain the changes and how they are able to access similar services through their library or alternatively they can continue with the RNIB scheme by subscribing directly."

Similar service

The two services are similar. The only difference between the two schemes is that the RNIB provides a free CD player.

The RNIB scheme costs the city council about £13,600 a year.

Karen Lamond from Bucknall uses the service. She told BBC Radio Stoke it was a comparatively small amount of money: "I think they've just targeted the wrong people again... I think it's just a miserly, small sum of money... I'll be absolutely devastated."

75th anniversary

The Talking Book service has its origins in the First World War. Many soldiers returning from the front were blinded in action and found it too difficult to learn braille.

The scheme finally got underway in 1935 and November 2010 is the 75th anniversary.

The RNIB now sends out more than 1.76m talking books across the UK each year to people with sight problems.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie was the first novel to be made into a talking book.

Talking books' 70th anniversary
07 Nov 05 |  Technology
In pictures: history of talking books
07 Nov 05 |  In Pictures


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