Social Activities and Accessing Art and Culture in the Community

We have now completed our Lottery-funded project providing social activities enabling people with visual impairments to access art and culture in their communities.

The project has been very successful and the groups in each of the 5 Borough areas have all requested more. In addition there have been spin-offs with a gallery visit for one group and the development of art and craft sessions.

You can download a word version of our Project Resource Manual here.

Sensory Book Club

The COESI charity has been successful in securing Big Lottery funding to run Social Activities for people with visual impairments in the Tees Valley region which includes accessible Art and Culture.

Our aim is to bring people with visual impairments together socially to access and experience culture, history and art in a local environment.


Come and join us for some social, informal sessions with refreshments and experience a Touch to See tactile and audio resource created by Living Paintings.

To find out more about the monthly sessions being held across the 5 Boroughs in the Tees Valley region contact Sophie Bishop at 01287 204204 or email to to book a place.



Sensory Book Club

In the Tees valley region, covering Middlesbrough, Darlington, Stockton, Hartlepool and Redcar and Cleveland, we are currently running social activity sessions which include the use of the Living Paintings Touch to See Book Club resources.

Check out their website at

We will be running these sessions for people with visual impairments between October 2016 and September 2017.

Come and join us!

In the North East of England people with sensory loss can be very isolated, with few accessible activities and limited support available, especially in a deprived, largely rural area such as Teesside.

Cultural exhibitions and events are by default experienced mainly by sight. Unless an exhibition or event has been specifically designed to be accessible people with visual impairments generally choose not to attend. Often no alternative tactile and audio formats are available to inform people with visual impairments. This makes access to community events, museums, festivals, markets and galleries very difficult for people with visual impairments and we want to explore new ways to address this. People with visual impairments do not have equality of access to their communities and progressive sight conditions such as Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma not only lead to depression but also isolate people in their homes leading to deterioration in health and wellbeing.

We have been successful in our application for funding from the Big Lottery to deliver a programme of social activities focused on enabling people with visual impairments to re-discover and access culture in and around their communities.

The activities will be provided for people who are blind or partially sighted across the Tees Valley region covering 5 Borough areas from October 2016 to September 2017.

Through regular enjoyable social meetings we will enable and empower people who are blind and visually impaired to access, appreciate and understand the culture, history and art in their communities.