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Joseph Clarke Trust raises £8,000 for high-tech braillers

Linda & David Bees, supporters of the Joseph Clarke School Trust organised a wonderful charity lunch and raffle at the Kings Oak Hotel in Epping Forest the other week. The Trust's event was organised to raise money for a new BrailleNote machine for Joseph Clarke School. In the end, an amazing total of  £8,000 means we will be able to buy two of the latest models.

We would particularly like to thank Christine Walker-Hebborn for her generous and moving donation of £3,000 — which she gave in the memory of her husband Robert who passed away in March.

Most of the brailling machines at Joseph Clarke School are the classic Perkins Brailer machines, which are the equivalent of manual typewriters. The BrailleNotes are much lighter machines, they allow work to be edited and have programmes that can convert Braille to print, they allow access to the internet and offer many more functions that we take for granted with our modern word processors. You can see a good video of the BrailleNote Touch in action here.

Boy demonstrating a Perkins Brailler
Perkins Braiilers are functional, but noisy.

One of the machines will go to Primary so the braille users there can begin to use them. The other will go to secondary, with priority given to pupils who have some of their lessons at Highams Park - the local mainstream school where some of our pupils go. The new machine are much quieter to use, pupils can edit their work and the Highams Park teachers can read what has been written.

Image showing the BrailleNote Touch in action
The new devices are virtually silent and allow editing as well as collaboration with sighted colleagues.

Headteacher Isobel Cox explains that because they are quieter and use the latest technology they are less stigmatising for the pupils. One boy who used to resist using Braille has completely changed his attitude since  accessing the Braillenote. "Eventually I would like all Braille users to have one" she said.