The pleasure of choosing a new book to read is something that most of us take for granted. Yet, it is estimated that less than 10% of all published materials are accessible to print-disabled people, meaning that a substantial proportion of society are unable to experience the simple pleasure of reading.
For young people, the lack of quality reading material available in audio has serious implications for their ability to learn and develop. For the elderly, socially isolated or disadvantaged, losing a lifelong love of the written word due to the loss of their sight, health or mobility can be devastating. The demand for accessible audio content is on the rise and yet the cost of commercial audiobooks puts it out of the reach of many. Our 2020 impact report revealed some of the factors that are contributing to this demand: 4.1 million people will be affected by sight loss in the UK by 2050; Dementia is expected to rise to over 1 million by 2025; and it is estimated that 1 in 10 people have dyslexia.
Calibre Audio is the only national charity in the UK to provide a completely free for life audiobook service to everyone who has a disability that makes reading print difficult. We exist to connect our members to the books they love; to provide stimulation, companionship, inclusion, learning and escape.
Our 15,000+ members, aged from five to 105, have a wide range of conditions including: a learning disability, such as dyslexia; a brain injury or cognitive impairment such as early dementia, head trauma or stroke, a visual impairment, or conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Motor Neurone Disease, Parkinson's disease, arthritis, paralysis, which severely limit the dexterity needed to handle printed books. We also support libraries, schools and community groups nationwide, providing audiobooks and facilitating book groups to promote inclusion.
Our vision is an inclusive society where everyone with a reading disability can enjoy free and accessible books.
Calibre has been actively working to improve book accessibility for over 45 years. We support our members across the UK and abroad as well as libraries, schools and community groups nationwide to access to our audiobooks. Our collection includes more than 12,500 titles which can be enjoyed through digital streaming and download, as well as delivered on USB memory stick.
Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, our team of 40 staff and 150 volunteers handle every aspect of our service. Our friendly membership team work tirelessly to provide a personalised service, ensuring all our members can receive support with selecting and listening to the books they choose. We’re continually adding new titles to ensure we provide a wide range of books that not only include bestsellers and new releases but also classics and personal requests from our members. We encourage and support community book groups, supplying them with multiple copies, reading suggestions and enabling members to come together in a social environment. We also record and produce audio versions of books otherwise unavailable on audio with the support of our volunteer narrators and onsite production facilities.
As a charity, we receive no government funding and are reliant on donations to help cover the £1.5m needed each year to run our services. This is an average cost of £85 per member each year. We are very cost-efficient: for every £1 donated, 89p goes directly to fund our audiobook service, 7p covers the cost of fundraising and the remaining 4p covers support team and running costs. If you would like to discuss how your organisation could partner with us to help achieve our vision, we’d love to hear from you