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14th Sep 2020
Mark Smith community activities manager at Vision Norfolk

Visually-impaired book lovers in Norfolk are being invited to share their enthusiasm for literature by taking part in a series of monthly virtual audio book clubs, being run by the county’s sight loss charity.

Before the Covid crisis started, Vision Norfolk ran regular audio book clubs in libraries around the county.  These are now taking place on Zoom – and new members are being invited to join.

Members are supplied with the month’s audio book on a CD or USB stick, and can then take part in an informal discussion about the book online

“The audio book clubs have been part of our activities for some years, allowing visually-impaired literature lovers to come together and enjoy each other’s company as they discuss the month’s book,” said Mark Smith, community activities manager at Vision Norfolk (formerly the Norfolk & Norwich Association for the Blind).

“Obviously we haven’t been able to get together in person during the coronavirus crisis, but the groups have continued to meet online.  Being visually-impaired can be isolating at the best of times, and particularly so during the current crisis.  The book clubs give visually-impaired people the opportunity to get together and share a common interest.”

Margaret, a member of the Norwich book club, commented, “It is nice to speak with the other members of the group and find out how they are doing at this difficult time.  It makes you feel that things can still continue even though you can’t meet up in person.”

The virtual book clubs meet monthly.  New members are welcome to join any of the clubs, but by choosing the one closest to them, they will be better placed to take part when the clubs are once again able to meet in person.

The clubs are as follows:

  • Thetford: second Friday of each month; next meeting 9th October, 10.30am-12pm
  • Norwich: second Monday of each month; next meeting 12th October, 1.30pm-3pm
  • Cromer: third Tuesday of each month; next meetings 15th September and 20th October, 2pm-3.30pm
  • Dereham: third Wednesday of each month; next meetings 16th September and 21st October, 10.30am-12pm
  • Fakenham: third Monday of each month; next meetings 21st September and 19th October, 10.30am-12pm
  • Diss: fourth Friday of each month; next meeting 25th September, 2pm-3.30pm

Membership of the audio book clubs, and the loan of the audio books, is free, thanks to Norfolk County Council funding.  Anyone interested in taking part – no matter the extent of their sight loss – can contact Mark Smith at Vision Norfolk on 01603 973216 or via email at marksmith@nnab.org.uk.