Macular Society creates audio versions of the government’s COVID-19 guidance

Letters and information leaflets, sent earlier this month to 30 million UK households by prime minister Boris Johnson, have been repurposed as audio recordings by the charity

Cathy Yelf
Macular Society chief executive Cathy Yelf
The Macular Society has created audio versions of the government’s coronavirus (COVID-19) communications in order to assist those living with sight issues.

Letters and information leaflets, sent earlier this month to 30 million UK households by prime minister Boris Johnson, have been repurposed as audio recordings by the charity.

Whilst the government did provide the opportunity to request an accessible version of the prime minister’s letter, there is no accessible version of the information leaflet available. There has also been no confirmation given on how long the accessible version of the letter will take to arrive at people’s homes.

This has the potential to leave those with visual impairments, who may also be living alone during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, without vital information.

In response, the Macular Society’s chief executive, Cathy Yelf, recorded an audio version of both the leaflet and the letter to allow everyone equal access to the vital information that they contained.

Ms Yelf said: “This is an anxious time for everyone and having access to all the information available is more important than ever before.

“While it is possible to request an accessible version of the letter in your required format, we do not know how long this will take to process. In the meantime, it could leave a lot of vulnerable people feeling more isolated and anxious than is necessary.”

The charity hopes that its audio communications will ensure those living with visual impairments have access to all essential COVID-19 information as the national lockdown continues.

Macular disease is the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK, with nearly 1.5 million people currently affected. Around 300 people are diagnosed with macular disease in the UK every day.

The Macular Society’s audio versions of the government’s recent coronavirus letter and leaflet can be found on the charity’s website.

Alternatively listen to the Macular Society’s version of the letter here. Listen to the recording of the leaflet here.

The full letter is available in a number of languages, as well as in a large print version, and can be downloaded from the GOV.UK website.