The Masonic Charitable Foundation has awarded a £40,000 grant to Living Paintings, a charity that organise tactile and audio-based Touch to See Book Clubs for older blind and partially-sighted people across the UK.

The grant will fund the salary of a Voluntary Co-Ordinator and provide a supply of new Touch to See Books. The clubs provide an opportunity for older blind and partially-sighted people to engage with a range of topics including gardening, history and art. The Book Clubs aim to reduce isolation and loneliness by encouraging members to get out of the house and take part in shared creative activities.

Camilla Oldland, Chief Executive at Living Paintings, said: “We are so delighted that the Masonic Charitable Foundation has chosen to support our work with a generous award that will enable us to continue and expand our very special project working to end the desperate isolation that is suffered by blind and partially sighted people living in their later years. With 250 clubs across the country there is so much more that we could do, demand is huge, and this award will go a long way in helping make the work possible.”

Isolation is a particular issue for blind and partially-sighted people who often find it difficult to meet people due to access issues and a lack of confidence or support. The Book Clubs stimulate conversation, stir memories, allow people to talk and encourage people to take up new interests. The clubs are an ideal place to help people develop social networks.