United Kingdom.

January 12, 2006.
Community Newswire-UK.

A Stockport-based charity was today celebrating after joining forces with TV stars Richard and Judy to ensure visually impaired people can take part in their "Best Read" campaign.

Richard and Judy were today kicking off the hugely-popular Best Read book club on their Channel Four show and after joining forces with the National Library for the Blind (NLB) were set to welcome even more readers.

Now in its third year, the book club will feature ten books for fans of the show to read and then join a national debate with the famous pair.

However, this will be the first year visually impaired fans will get to take part as all featured publishers in the initiative have pledged to fund the transcription of their books into braille by the NLB.

The executive producer of the show, Amanda Ross, supported the NLB by insisting from the beginning that this was a condition of acceptance to the book club for publishers.

Claire Briscoe, from the National Library for the Blind, said: "We are very excited about the work we are doing with the Richard and Judy programme, and also the support we are getting from publishers.

"As a charity with no regular government funding we can only continue our work thanks to generous donations and the support of projects such as the Richard and Judy Book Club.

"We believe that visually impaired people should be able to read the same books, at the same time and at the same price as sighted people and we hope that publishers will continue to support our work bringing the magic of reading to blind people throughout the UK."

The NLB is producing each braille book in time for the appropriate Richard and Judy programme. Visually impaired people wishing to borrow or buy a copy, or who wish to find out more about the initiative, should contact the NLB on 0161 406 2525 or email reader.advice@nlbuk.org

Only 5% of books published in the UK every year ever make it into a format that the two million blind and partially-sighted people in the UK can read.

With such a limited number of books produced in formats that visually impaired people can read, such as braille, audio and giant print, blind and partially-sighted people are often excluded from popular reading activities.

The National Library for the Blind provides a free postal library service to blind and partially sighted people worldwide.

The charity houses Europe's largest collection of tactile books and music and offers a range of innovative electronic library and information services via the website at www.nlb-online.org

For more information on the Best Read visit www.channel4.com/richardandjudy

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