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Cromer-based Audio Book Club helps those with visual impairments share the joy of a good book

PUBLISHED: 15:28 13 November 2017 | UPDATED: 15:28 13 November 2017

Members of the Cromer Audio Book Club discussing their latest book at Cromer Library. Picture: Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind

Members of the Cromer Audio Book Club discussing their latest book at Cromer Library. Picture: Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind

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There is no reason visually-impaired people in Cromer and surrounds need miss out on the joy of a good book.

Vivien Levine, member of the Cromer Audio Book Club. Picture: Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind Vivien Levine, member of the Cromer Audio Book Club. Picture: Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind

The Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind (NNAB) has put out a call for new members for its Cromer Audio Book Club, which meets monthly at the town’s library.

The book club is one of eight across the county, with members meeting to discuss a chosen book of the month, after having received it to listen to either on CD or memory stick.

Mark Smith, the NNAB’s leisure activities co-ordinator, who is blind himself, said: “With the onset of sight loss, many older people find it difficult to enjoy the pleasures of reading.

“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 group opened up a useful social outlet for members, as well as being a fun place to share thoughts on the books read.

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.”

One Cromer resident who has benefitted from the club is Vivien Levine, who lost her sight 40 years ago.

Mrs Levine has been attending the club for around 15 years.

She said: “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.”

The club meets 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. The NNAB also runs activities such as sports, theatre visits, discussion groups, IT training and gardening.

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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