In Funding Stories, Physical & mental health, wellbeing & safety

Project: Providing audio book library service staff costs for the benefit of Buckinghamshire based members

Grant: £5,000

Fund: General Fund

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. They have over 13,000 books in their library and currently support over 16,000 members, 453 of which are based in Buckinghamshire, aged from 5 to 104, and have a wide range of disabilities and conditions.

Heart of Bucks are proud to have provided Calibre Audio with funding that covered library staff costs during the Covid-19 pandemic. This funding facilitated the continuous uploading of digital audio books to the Calibre streaming and download service, as well as the recording and editing of narrator recordings. Funding was also used to buy already published recordings to further add to their library. Finally, funding saw the Calibre Audio Membership Services team continue to provide a personalised and much-valued service, including recommending books and responding to members via telephone, email or online chat, during a time of increased social isolation for many.

Currently only 10% of all published books are converted to digital audio, the format those with print disabilities need most, and the majority are only available through paid commercial subscription services which are unaffordable to many. Therefore Calibre Audio offer a vital, life-enriching service that brings joy, companionship and vital mental stimulation to everyone who finds reading print difficult, especially during the tough time of the pandemic.


“My audiobooks have been a godsend during 13 weeks of lockdown and I don’t know what I’d have done without them! Thank you for the amazing service that you do and may it continue.”

“Dear friends at Calibre, we just want to send a heartfelt thank you to you all for keeping my husband’s brain occupied all through the year of this pandemic, it truly has been a blessing for him and thank you doesn’t seem to be enough for all your hard work.”

Case Study

Richard, from Aston Clinton, has been a Calibre member since 2014 and recently even volunteered for the charity.

Here Richard tells us what being a Calibre member means to him.

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