Living Paintings: bringing art and stories to life for blind people

Living Paintings helps blind children to experience the joy of a picture book.

Social Problem

Many of us enjoy losing ourselves in a good book or being taken somewhere new by a talented artist. But for blind and partially-sighted people, pastimes that others take for granted can feel out of reach. It can be particularly difficult for young children, who often miss out on the joy, literacy engagement and learning that a picture book can bring.


Living Paintings creates beautiful books that can be enjoyed through touch and sound. The books include tactile pictures, audio descriptions and sometimes braille. The charity’s free online library posts a wide range of its special Touch to See books out to members, from The Gruffalo to The Works of Monet.


Two Charity Bank loans have helped Living Paintings buy and develop the building that houses its library and production rooms, and sits at the heart of its work. The loans have helped to transform the scale of the charity, more than tripling the number of people whose lives are being enriched by the scheme.


Living Paintings’ work has long-lasting benefits. The charity’s Touch to See books support blind and partially-sighted people to engage with the world around them, share stories with their families, discover a love for reading and be inspired by nature, art and popular culture.

“We’ve had two loans from Charity Bank over the last 24 years. Together, they unlocked £120,000 in grant funding. We’ve just paid our second loan off and it feels rather like saying goodbye to a dear old friend. The relationship has always been so supportive.”

Camilla Oldland, Chief Executive, Living Paintings

“Thank you so much for bringing this story to life [The Snowman], especially for a little man that is really starting to fully understand Christmas and the magic of it! Jai laughed so hard, really belly laughed, through some pages in this book (I’ve never heard him laugh that way before). He fell asleep wishing for snow, so maybe he could have a friend like the snowman.”

A library member

About Charity Bank

Charity Bank is the loans and savings bank owned by and committed to supporting the social sector. Since 2002, we have used our savers’ money to make more than 1,000 loans totalling over £300m to housing, education, social care, community and other social purpose organisations.

Find out more about us here.

Nothing in this article constitutes an invitation to engage in investment activity nor is it advice or a recommendation and professional advice should be taken before any course of action is pursued.