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Libraries 'ACT' on HiVis mission to support people with sight loss

Failing eyesight doesn’t have to put an end to your enjoyment of the written word, which is why Tameside libraries are supporting HiVis.

Taking place across the first two weeks of June, HiVis fortnight 2024 gives libraries across the UK the opportunity to highlight services and support for those with a vision impairment.

This year’s theme is “ACT” which stands for accessibility, connection and tactile.

It’s about acting to let people with sight loss know that libraries are for their use just as much as anyone else’s; connecting to stop blind and partially-sighted people feeling isolated, or that their opportunities to get involved are limited; and offering books and activities that are focused on touch rather than vision.

Two events have been organised to take place at Ashton Library on Tuesday 11 June.

From 10am to noon, the Macular Society and Henshaw’s (a charity for the blind) will have information stands to let visually-impaired people learn about the support that is available to them. Visitors will also be able to find out about Tameside libraries’ e-reading resources.

Additionally, adults are welcome to a Tea and Tales session (10.30am to 11.30am) where they can enjoy light refreshments while listening to poetry and prose read out by library staff.

There will be large-print word searches to try, and a tactile quiz which will involve participants being asked to close their eyes and guess the object using only their sense of touch.

All the events are free and there is no need to book. Just come along on the day.

Cllr Sangita Patel, Tameside Council’s assistant executive member for heritage, culture, participation and sport, said: “The whole idea of public libraries, since they were first established in 1850, has been to serve the public.

“They exist for everyone and that includes the two million people in the UK who are living with sight loss. I believe it’s very important we reach out to all those in the community who could benefit from our libraries’ content and activities.

“If you have a visual impairment, please don’t let it put you off visiting a Tameside library. Come to Ashton Library on 11 June and find out about all the things we can offer. You’ll be more than welcome and our friendly staff will only too happy to help.”

For more on vision support in Tameside, visit www.tameside.gov.uk/adults/hearingandvision

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