‘With the onset of sight loss, many older people find it difficult to enjoy the pleasures of reading’ - Cromer audio book club opens its doors to new members

Members of the Cromer Audio Book Club discussing their latest book at Cromer Library. Picture: Andy

Members of the Cromer Audio Book Club discussing their latest book at Cromer Library. Picture: Andy Newman - Credit: Andy Newman

Visually-impaired people in north Norfolk are being urged not to miss out on the joy of books – by taking part in a monthly Audio Book Club which takes place at the town's library.

Vivien Levine, member of the Cromer Audio Book Club. Picture: Andy Newman

Vivien Levine, member of the Cromer Audio Book Club. Picture: Andy Newman - Credit: Andy Newman

Run by the Norfolk & Norwich Association for the Blind (NNAB), the monthly book club is one of eight across Norfolk, with members meeting to discuss the chosen book of the month. Members receive the audio book on either a CD or memory stick.

Now the Cromer group is looking for more members from visually-impaired people in the area.

'With the onset of sight loss, many older people find it difficult to enjoy the pleasures of reading,' said Mark Smith, leisure activities co-ordinator at the NNAB, and who is himself blind. 'This is where audio books come into play, and they are a vital means of enjoying a favourite book.'

The Cromer group is led by Leonie Barnett, who has been an NNAB volunteer for about seven years. She said; 'The club means that members get to listen to books they wouldn't otherwise have done, as well as enjoying the social interaction which is part of any book club.'


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Cromer resident Vivien Levine, who lost her sight 40 years ago, has been attending the club for around 15 years. 'I have always loved books, so when I lost my sight I had to get used to listening to them. Now I like the way that the reader can bring them to life with their own voice.

'It's nice to be able to have the chance to discuss them with other book lovers, and to have a bit of a laugh. It's good to be able to get out and chat with others about a shared interest too.'

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The Cromer Audio Book Club meets in the town's library on the second Tuesday of every month, from 2pm to 3.30pm. Attendance and the loan of the audio books is free for members, thanks to Norfolk County Council funding.

Anyone interested in taking part – no matter the extent of their sight loss – can contact Mark Smith at the NNAB on 01603 629558 or via email at marksmith@nnab.org.uk.

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