Charity gets boost from Big Lottery Fund

Seeing Ear SUS-140721-163541001
Seeing Ear SUS-140721-163541001

A local charity has received almost half a million pounds from the Big Lottery Fund to support a fantastic three-year project aimed at helping blind and print disabled children access their favourite books.

The Seeing Ear, set up in 2005 by Hastings resident Tony Dart, has created an online library of thousands of books in a flexible file format to help people who want to read but cannot use ordinary books.

The technology works in a way that allows users with different disabilities to access a single file and select the format they need, whether it be in braille, audio or large print. Tony said: “If you cannot read because you have a physical disability or you have dyslexia or cerebral palsy then the work we do is absolutely crucial to you.”

So far the charity has about 4,000 titles and the library, which can be accessed throughout the UK, is rapidly growing at a rate of about six books a day. Tony said: “I was extremely glad to hear that we received the money because the work that we do with young pupils and school children is really important and without it there’s no way we could provide the service we do.”

During last few months, the Seeing Ear team has recruited more than 100 volunteers across the country who work from home to help edit and format the books for the library. However, to meet the demand for books, the charity now needs local volunteers to help scan books ready for editing at its head office in Battle Road, St Leonards. If you are interested in volunteering a few hours of your time, contact the team at or call 01424 851236.