To combat the loneliness and isolation many might feel in the approaching winter months, a telephone book group for blind and partially sighted people in Scotland is being launched .

Organised by the sight loss charities The Macular Society and RNIB Scotland, the group’s members will choose from the RNIB Talking Books library, which has over 32,535 audio-titles to lend out free to people with sight loss.

Hazel McFarlane, senior regional manager with the Macular Society, is registered blind herself and was last year nominated as one of the 100 Most Influential Disabled People in the UK. “I absolutely love reading and read accessible books at the end of the day, every day,” she said. “We have worked with RNIB Scotland in the past and it just seemed like an ideal opportunity to create a new telephone book group together.

“The Winter Warmer Book Group will start on Monday, November 9th, and take place on the second Monday of each month until February. If it proves to be popular, we’ll consider keeping it going. Places will be limited, but if we do receive a lot of demand we’ll work together to try to meet it. Until we promote it, though, we don’t know what level of response to expect.”

©Mike Ellis Photography

Susan Burn, community coordinator with RNIB Scotland, said: “The group is aimed specifically at people not already engaged in any other groups who would be at risk of isolation during the winter months.

“We can support people in signing up to the RNIB Talking Books library if they need to and can signpost to our Technology for Life or Helpline if they need a bit more support to access it.”

For further details about The Winter Warmer Book Group for people with sight loss, please contact Susan Burn on 07864 958 240 or email