Articles for the blind

Free 1st Class or International Standard postage for blind people

Articles for the blind

Free 1st Class or International Standard postage for blind people

Our scheme to help blind and visually impaired customers

At Royal Mail, we’re committed to our customers – and to offering services that bring people and communities closer together.

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 of N12 or less as certified by an ophthalmologist, doctor or ophthalmic optician.

The scheme is a free, 1st Class or International Standard 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 postage (first class only) for sending:

  • books, printed materials, letters, relief maps
  • audio and electronic media
  • equipment such as magnifiers and mobility aids

These items can be sent as:

  • 1st Class letter, large letter or parcel

  • International Standard letters

To send items under the scheme, simply write 'ARTICLES FOR THE BLIND' on the front of the envelope and the sender's name and address clearly on the reverse of the envelope. Leave your mail open or make sure it's easy to open for inspection. If the contents are fragile, you can get permission from us to seal your package, please call us on 0345 607 6140 to confirm. Alternatively, you can take your item to your local Post Office where it can be checked and sealed by the counter staff. You can also obtain a proof of posting this way.

Mail must be addressed to the blind or visually impaired person at that address. Items that are addressed to “The Occupier” or “Dear Customer” etc. and not a named recipient cannot be sent under this scheme. It should be sent as normal, paid-for mail.

Full information on Articles for the Blind

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.

We're not able to accept the following:

  • 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

Size limits

  • rectangular parcels: 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
  • tubes/cylinders: its length needs to be between 100mm and 900mm, and its length plus twice the diameter needs to be between 170mm and 1040mm

Parcels can weigh up to 7kg.

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.

Find your nearest Post Office

Mail must be available for inspection

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.

You must notify us of your intention to seal items that you are mailing under the Articles for the Blind Scheme.

Please contact us before you seal and send any items (including heavy or fragile items).

Labels

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 collection

Business Customers (not registered charities for the blind) who use Articles for the Blind must follow all the specifications for a normal business Collection. Find out how our collection service works.

Charity collection

We can offer a free single collection from a registered charity for the blind. 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.

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