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RNIB launches online read

This is an exciting week for pupils at the Royal Blind School in Edinburgh as they launch the first online magazine written by and for young people with sight loss.

Called eye4news, it is being produced by a team of 12 blind and partially-sighted secondary pupils to share life and school experiences, and feature news and views on politics, sport, music, travel and fashion.

"We think eye4news is the first online magazine of its kind anywhere in the world and we hope to get as many visually-impaired pupils as possible reading it," says Chris Macnamee, RNIB volunteer and editor.

"Partially-sighted young people will be able to adjust print size and colour backgrounds to the best effect for them, while there is a voice-over facility for the totally blind."

Funded by RNIB Edinburgh and Lothians, the importance of the new magazine to its readership is underlined by Jane Coates, RNIB children's services officer. "Many children with sight loss suffer social isolation," she says.

"eye4news is not only an opportunity for them to voice their opinions and interests, but will also be a forum to help establish relationships and forge friendships among their peers."

The first issue boasts an interview with triple Olympic gold medallist Chris Hoy, a football debate involving Old Firm fans, a Moan of the Month declaring Christmas to be some kind of humbug and a feature by Royal Blind School pupil Amy who, as a talented musician, spends three days a week at the music unit at Broughton High and wants to share her experiences of both mainstream and specialist schools.

The magazine will be updated at least monthly, with an article on the US President-elect Obama already scheduled for January. Comment spaces mean anyone can contribute.

"It will be great to be able to read articles written by people of my age who have the same sight issues as I have," says Kurt, one of the contributors. "I can learn how they deal with things and maybe help them with something I have already experienced."

http:eye4news.org.

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