AN organisation inspired by a specialist Hereford college has designed assistive technology for blind and visually impaired people that they hope will give them more independence and help their creativity flourish.

Equart is a charity founded by Ginnie Blakey, who is a former teacher at Hereford's Royal National College for the Blind. 

It has been motivated by the vision of a performing arts that includes gifted blind and visually impaired singers, and is hoping to raise £7,500 to develop its patented navigation system design into an app through a series of concerts featuring gifted singers with visual impairments.

It's team of technologists and researchers have developed a system which enables blind and visually impaired singers to pilot a stage safely and independently.

Ginnie Blakey said: "We have been researching the barriers that exist for visually impaired singers for fifteen years and are now hoping to develop our design into a prototype.


The app works exactly like a sat-nav but with bluetooth technology replacing satellite. It is designed to give the singer as much freedom on stage as a sighted person has."

The final app is planned to be trialled and tested with gifted students from the Royal College for the Blind (RCB) in Hereford, where Ms Blakey previously worked.

The finished app will enable the talented blind students at the RCB to perform on an equal level with sighted performers and to explore new opportunities that were previously not open to them.


According to Denise Leigh, winner of television talent show Operatunities and the only blind singer in the UK to have been cast in a professional production, the app "has the potential to revolutionise the relationship that blind and visually impaired singers have with the performing arts."

Equart is holding a fundraising concert at 7.30pm on Saturday, November 12 at Goodrich village hall.

The concert will feature award-winning soprano, Anne Wilkins, the only blind singer to win the blue riband in an Eisteddfodd in 2012.

Want to stay up to date with all the latest Ross-on-Wye news? It's easy, just sign up for our weekly email newsletter here and all the important stories that matter to you will be delivered straight to your inbox.