Hi there!

Don’t panic – no, it’s not September yet, and yes, we’re still on holiday. However, with Sight Village almost certain to take place next week, and a few other developments in the braille world which we thought you might like to know about, we’ve decided to briefly come out of hibernation to offer this mid-month Newsletter.

We hope you enjoy it, and look forward to returning to a full complement of events in a few weeks’ time.

Braille and Beer after Sight Village, Tuesday 17 August

For the first time in nearly a decade, Sight Village will be held at its home venue of Queen Alexandra College, Court Oak Road, Harborne, Birmingham, B17 9TG. It will be open 9:00 AM-5:00 PM on Tuesday 17 August and 9:00 AM-3:30 PM on Wednesday 18 August, and pre-registration is essential.

A wealth of braille products will be exhibited over the two days from suppliers including RNIB, Sight and Sound Technology, HumanWare and, of course, Bristol Braille Technology.

Sadly, there is a limited number of exhibitors this year due to COVID-19, and the Braillists won’t have a presence at the exhibition itself. However, a few of us will be meeting for one of our “Braille and Beer” events after the first day, and you’d be very welcome to join us.

We’ll be meeting at The Old House at Home, 193, Lordswood Road, Harborne, Birmingham, B17 8QP. The pub is 700 yards from the College, with a bus stop just outside.

We hope to be able to demonstrate a small selection of braille products during the evening including the Canute and Orbit Reader. If you have a braille product that you’d like to show to other braille enthusiasts, please bring it along!

We will also be bringing A4 braille frames, styluses and 8-cell word forming blocks to give away to anyone who wants one, and offering free 1:1 training on the use of this equipment to anyone who needs it. If you have already obtained your equipment by post, but need help using it, this is an ideal opportunity for you to receive it.

The gathering will be very informal and there are no set start or end times, but you can expect a flurry of activity at about 6:00 PM, once people have packed down after Sight Village.

This event is being supported by Bristol Braille Technology CIC. If you would like to meet up at QAC and walk over to the pub in a group, or you have other enquiries on the day, please find Ed or Steph on the BBT stand or call 020 3893 3392.

Perkins Braillers Available on Free, Long-Term Loan

Our partner organisation, Vision Through Sound, which has been managing our free equipment, has been offered a sizeable donation of Perkins Braillers from Portsmouth Association for the Blind, with logistics support from Bristol Braille Technology CIC.

Stephanie Sergeant, Proprietor of Vision Through Sound and well-known to many readers of this Newsletter, has generously agreed to make some of these machines available to Braillists members on free, long-term loan. They will be offered on a first come, first served basis, but with priority given to people who are learning braille.

It is possible that the first few machines will be available to collect at the Braillists’ “Braille and Beer” gathering next week. If you’d like to reserve one, please email Stephanie at

We would like to place on record our heartfelt thanks to Vision Through Sound for allowing our readers to take advantage of this fantastic offer, and to Bristol Braille Technology and Portsmouth Association for the Blind for making this initiative possible.

The Passing of Jim Taylor

We were extremely saddened to receive the message below from Mobeen Iqbal. Although Jim was not himself a member of the Braillists community per se, he was involved in a number of braille-related projects in his lifetime and many readers will have known him.

It is with great sadness that I report the death of Jim Taylor. He was resting after his breakfast. A member of staff looked in on him and he had sadly passed away peacefully in his sleep. I know that Jim touched the lives of many people. I have been in touch with Jim regularly over the last 10 years. He always looked on the bright side of life, a quality I greatly admired. His knowledge of Braille and music was admirable and second to none. He was very ill over the past couple of years. Jim, Your life was a blessing, your memory a treasure. You are loved beyond words and missed beyond measure. May you rest in peace. You will always be remembered in our prayers.

20% Discounts on Focus 14 and 40 Blue Braille Displays until 31 August

As part of the Sight and Sound/Freedom Scientific “Home Use” programme, the Focus 14 Blue 5th generation is currently on sale for £925 (reduced from £1295), whilst the Focus 40 Blue 5th generation is on sale for £2120 (reduced from £2650).

These discounts are valid until 31 August. Please use the links above or call Sight and Sound to order on 01604 798070.

Using the Focus Blue Braille Displays, Thursday 12 August at 2:00 PM

As part of their “Unpacking Tech that Makes you Feel at Home” series, join Sight and Sound for a webinar all about the fifth generation of the popular Focus Blue braille displays. The session will be presented by Ron Miller, Blindness Technology Product Specialist at Vispero (manufacturers of the Focus line of displays), who is himself blind and a braille user.

The session will also cover other hardware products from Vispero including the Pearl camera.

Register for Unpacking Tech that Makes you Feel at Home:

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