The senses of hearing and touch are used to allow blind and visually impaired children to read, thanks to Living Paintings

Living Paintings’ unique multimedia Touch to See books reveal the visual world to children who cannot see. Using audio descriptions and tactile images blind children can go on journeys of exploration, discovery and learning too.

Luca reading the Olympic Rings

The Primary Club first supported Living Paintings in 2012, helping the publication of three sport-related books: Wonder Goal; The Olympics: Flaming Torches and Glittering Prizes; and The Olympic and Paralympic Games: Small Beginnings.

A decade on from the memorable events of London 2012, we are helping Living Paintings produce a new Touch to See book based on sporting heroes, as recommended by Living Paintings’ beneficiaries.

The Touch to See books are distributed across the country via post from the charity’s library service free of charge, and help children learn to read and support students in school. Currently 1,800 blind and partially sighted children and teenagers benefit from the service with the pandemic increasing demand for the Touch to See books by 25%.

Every day the parents of four children will hear that their precious child is, or will become blind. It is a devastating diagnosis, leaving them uncertain as to how their child can ever join in with story time at nursery, follow school work with their sighted peers or make friends. As well as the educational impact, blind children face real social exclusion, as they struggle to join in conversations about the visually informed subjects that form the basis for so much social interaction including sport.

I have a long history with Living Paintings and they have had a massive impact on my life

A page from Wonder Goals

Louis is 19 and has been completely blind since he was 18 months old as a result of neuroblastoma, a type of children’s cancer. “My parents didn’t really know where to turn for children’s books,” says Louis, “but then they discovered Living Paintings when I was about two and I am still involved at 19! I have a long history with Living Paintings and they have had a massive impact on my life.

“To sum up Living Paintings, I would ask a sighted person to close your eyes and imagine you can’t open them again. This is how it is and now you want to read a book, but how are you going to do that? How important is reading a book to you? Then you discover Living Paintings and the books are full of characters you’ve heard about and imagined all the time. They have been on the TV, you’ve listened to the audio books, you may have had the books read to you and you never quite understood what they looked like and now, because of Living Paintings you can.”