At Royal Mail, we’re committed to our customers – and to offering services that bring people and communities closer together. Our Articles for the Blind scheme is a free, 1st Class or Airmail service designed to support blind and visually impaired people as well as the charities that work hard to improve their lives. It works by waiving all costs for sending:
- books, printed materials, letters, relief maps
- audio and electronic media
- equipment such as magnifiers and mobility aids.
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Who uses Articles for the Blind?
Articles for the Blind is a scheme for Blind and visually impaired customers who are registered as blind under the provisions of the National Assistance Act 1948. We also include people whose standard of close-up vision, with spectacles is N12 or less and certified by an ophthalmologist, doctor or ophthalmic optician.
How it helps
Articles for the Blind send 1st Class and Air Mail letters, large letters and packets for free. Blind or visually impaired customers and registered charities who want to send specially prepared items to registered blind or recognised visually impaired individuals.
How mail should be addressed
Under the scheme, mail must be addressed to the blind or visually impaired person at that address. Items that are addressed to The Occupier, Dear Customer and not a named recipient should be sent as normal, paid-for mail.
Sizes and weights for items in the UK
- rectangular packages: maximum dimensions : 610mm x 460mm x 460mm
- cylindrical packages: the length must not exceed 900mm and the length added to twice the diameter of the packet must not be more than 1040mm in total.
- The maximum weight limit of any package is 7kg.
Sizes and weights for items overseas
- rectangular packages: the combined length, depth and width can be up to 900mm, and each single dimension can be up to 600mm. The dimension of each surface needs to be at least 90mm by 140mm.
- cylindrical package: its length needs to be between 100mm and 900mm, and its length plus twice the diameter needs to be between 170mm and 1040mm.
- Packages can weigh up to 7kg.
What you can send
The contents of your mail must include items prepared for or by a blind or visually impaired person. Personal and private correspondence should be sealed and sent as normal mail. There’s a wide range of useful and important items you can send, including:
- books, papers and letters – either embossed or in large print (minimum font size 16pt)
- relief maps.
You can also send visual and electronic media like:
- computer disks and CDs
- spoken audio, video (with added commentary) and electronic media.
We also encourage you to send equipment used by blind people. We’ll ask you to let us know ahead of time. The list covers:
- talking books and newspapers that are recordings from printed books, journals, newspapers, periodicals or similar publications.
- equipment used to play or record audio, video and electronic media i.e. talking books and talking newspapers
- electronic and optical magnifiers
- games, mathematical devices, watches, clocks, timers and measuring equipment
- embossed or blank plates and devices for producing tactile information
- stationery for tactile information or for mail
- mobility aids including sticks and guide dog equipment.
What you can’t send
There are some limits to what we can accept. You can’t send:
- music audio (more than 2 minutes or more than 10% of the total duration)
- entertainment programmes which are available on radio or recordings.
- printed material in a font smaller than 16 point (unless it is a faithful copy of information that has been transcribed into Braille, tape, CD, Disk or large print, and where it accompanies the transcribed version)
- any flyer or documentation being used as advertising
- personal, sensitive or confidential correspondence, in any format.
If you want to use the Articles for the Blind service, we must ensure that the items you are posting meet the requirements of the scheme. For further advice or information please call us on 0845 6076140. Textphone users can call us on 0845 6000606.
Sender name and address must be included on the envelope or packaging.
If your items are going to a recipient abroad, they must have
‘Articles for the Blind – CECOGRAMMES’
printed or written on the front cover. Where available through a Post Office Branch, a P4558 label should be affixed.
All mail posted using Articles for the Blind is subject to inspection, so it must be left open, or be easy to open and re-seal.
Heavy or fragile items
Before you seal and send heavy or fragile items, notify us on the Articles for the Blind Helpline (0845 607 6140).
If you choose to use the black and white labels available through the Post Office® then they must do so in conjunction with all other terms of the service. Remember to write Articles for the Blind on the outside of the mail piece.
If you use the Royal Mail Collection service, your mail must meet all the Articles for the Blind specifications and must be despatched for the next-day delivery.
Business Customers (not registered charities) who use Articles for the Blind must follow all the specifications for a normal business Collection . Find out how our Collection service works.
We can offer a free single collection from a registered charity. This free single collection will be for a mailing containing only items that meet the Articles for the Blind specifications - in all other cases registered charities must use the Royal Mail Customer Collection service.
Search help for more answers...
Who is classed as blind and sight impaired?
People who are registered as blind under the provisions of the National Assistance Act 1948. We also include people whose standard of close-up vision, with spectacles is N12 or less and certified by an ophthalmologist, doctor or ophthalmic optician.Back to top
Will my items be delivered next day?
Yes. Your item(s) will be sent with our 1st Class Mail service.Back to top
Can I send items to addresses outside of the UK free of charge?
Yes, by both Surface Mail and Airmail.Back to top
Can I claim compensation for loss, delivery or delay?
Items sent using our Articles for the Blind service are eligible if they are lost, damaged or delayed.
For Articles for the Blind items posted with Royal Mail which have no intrinsic value, or where a customer cannot provide evidence of posting, there will be compensation for loss, damage and delay of a minimum of 6 x 1st class stamps at the first weight step. In the event of a compensation claim for loss we will refund the postage paid or 6 x 1st class stamps at the first weight step, whichever is the greater.
For lost or damaged items that have an intrinsic value, with evidence of posting with Royal Mail (such as a certificate of posting) and evidence of value (such as an invoice or receipt) customers will be entitled to compensation for actual loss up to the value of the item, or £46, whichever is the lowest. Read more about compensation.
Compensation for lost or damaged items sent abroad
Items sent by ordinary Surface Mail or Airmail are not eligible for compensation, but if Airsure, and International Signed For are used, compensation is available to the value of £46. The £250 or £500 (depending on country) extra compensation facility for these services does not apply when using the Articles for the Blind discount. If a higher level of compensation is needed customers will have to pay the full standard tariff for these services.Back to top
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