Braille Equipment

We are now very excited to be offering free braille reading, writing and learning equipment to Braillists Newsletter subscribers, who are taking part in the Braillists online/phone master-classes, and who are based in the UK or Ireland.

This equipment is available thanks to a generous grant from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and supplemented by a further donation from our friends at Bristol Braille Technology CIC. Below is a list of what can be sent (via Articles For The Blind) to each qualifying subscriber. We hope this will help you follow along with our master-classes and to practice braille in your own time:

  • An A4 braille frame
  • A pocket interline record card braille frame (the Janus)
  • A stylus
  • Samples of A4 braille paper
  • Samples of 3×5″ index record cards
  • An 8-cell braille word forming block (for learners)
  • A tactile abacus

We will be getting in more equipment in the coming months. But don’t worry! By applying for these now you are not disqualifying yourself from receiving future items.

There are limited stocks and we will inevitably run out quickly, some items before others. Therefore please let us know if you don’t want any of the above when you apply so we can reserve them for people who will benefit from them. If you don’t specify we will send one of each.

To apply you need to subscribe to the Braillists Newsletter, where you will be given further information.

You must satisfy the following six points for us to comply with the terms of the grant. We also encourage people to apply on behalf of others who may benefit where they cannot write in themselves:

  1. Confirm that you or the recipient are subscribed to the Braillists Newsletter.
  2. Confirm that you or the recipient will be attending our braille master-classes in the coming months. These can be attended by telephone or Zoom.
  3. Confirm your British or Irish postal address to receive the equipment, including postcode.
  4. Confirm that this equipment will not be resold.
  5. Confirm that you or the recipient are happy to donate it to another braille reader if/when it is no longer of any use to you (or, if you prefer, post it back to the Braillists Foundation via Articles For The Blind).
  6. Tell us if any of the items above will not be of use to you, in which case we will exclude them.

For data protection reasons your address will be held by our partner, Vision Through Sound and will not be seen by other Braillists members. Therefore please follow the instructions in the Newsletter. Requests will not be recognised if they are sent to the help address, the forum or through social media.

Due to limits on the grant funding for this equipment, it is only available in the UK or Ireland. We hope to expand this scheme world wide next year when we find the appropriate funding.

Meanwhile if you are not from the UK or Ireland then you can ask on the email forum for advice on similar resources in your country. In the US, the NFB sells similar items for very reasonable prices.

This equipment comes from the Worth Trust, a charity in Tamil Nadu, India, and is made by blind and disabled people. It was sold to the Braillists Foundation at cost. Our thanks to all the staff at Worth for doing such a good job of keeping braille affordable! If you are in India their braille items are widely available through various charitable schemes.

Using the A4 Braille Frame

We will be offering advice on using the A4 frame in master-classes.

We have given you enough braille paper to get started but you will quickly run out! For suppliers of replacement paper, please consult our Braille Consumables page.

Using the Janus Frame

To put paper into the frame you slide it in the open side. You can find this because it has a small intent in the plastic around the edge of one of the short sides. Note that the frame does not unfold like a standard frame.

Paper slides in there and now can be embossed using the stylus included. This is a flat, sculpted stylus, very handy for keeping in a purse or pocket or similar (compared with the conventional more bulbous handled ones).

You can write on both sides of the paper, just turn the frame over. The spacing is inter-line, meaning the lines are off-set on one side compared with the other. When you take the card out and put it back in again to make a correction be careful to put it in the same way around, otherwise the lines will not line up.

Please note: Janus slates are designed specifically for 3×5″ record cards. Suitable paper is listed on our Braille Consumables page or can be obtained at your local Post Office or eBay.