Beacon Centre for the Blind

Services/focus of the Karten Centre

Beacon Centre for the Blind is based in the West Midlands, supporting over 3,000 people affected by sight loss to live fuller, more independent lives.
We also support people with other conditions, usually related to sight loss but not always. Beacon aims to provide bespoke pathways for visually impaired people to develop skills to build a level of independence tailored to their need and individual sight loss journey through a range of outcomes-focused services including IT training, Low Vision advice, activity sessions, health and wellbeing, employment support and social care.

Beacon has a key focus on digital inclusion for those with sight loss, providing access to assistive technology devices as well as training and support to build confidence. The charity’s Talking Newspaper service has increased listenership due to availability across digital platforms such as Alexa.

The charity has shops in Sedgley, Bilston, Penkridge, Halesowen, Bloxwich and Cannock, as well as a Clearance Centre in Wolverhampton focusing on larger items. These enable us to raise much needed funds, as well as providing opportunities for placements and training and the capacity to raise awareness about the impact of sight loss.

Beacon also generates income and provides training for members via its Fab Lab digital manufacturing facility, which produces a wide range of bespoke and personalised items such as t-shirts, branded promotional products to home décor, gifts and seasonal creations. Products are sold via the charity’s Etsy channel, Made by Fab Lab, and direct contact.

Established in 1875, Beacon has been making a visible difference for people with sight loss for over 145 years. There are 195,000 visually impaired people in the West Midlands, with that number set to increase and combined with the impact of the pandemic, Beacon has never been more needed.

Beacon is the only sight loss charity in the area to deliver this service, across Wolverhampton, Dudley, Sandwell and South Staffordshire.

Centre specialisms:

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Centre Address

Wolverhampton Road East, Sedgley, WV4 6AZ

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Karten Centre Manager

Lisa Cowley

Contact Details


01902 880111


Host Organisation

Beacon Centre for the Blind

Host Organisation Address

Wolverhampton Road East, Sedgley, WV4 6AZ

Centre setting

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Karten Centre Website

Centre Established

January 2009


We can support a range of people who need assistance to overcome digital exclusion.


Most of the people we support have sight loss or an associated issue although we also support some people with other conditions.

Type/s of disabilties

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Technology used in the Karten Centre

Desktop computers, laptops, Apple phones and tablets and watches, Android phones and tablets, Kindles, Amazon Echo Dot.

Assistive Technology

• iPad/iPhone accessibility including magnification and Voiceover
• Android tablets and phones accessibility including magnification and Talkback
• Kindle accessibility including VoiceView
• General and specialist apps include TapTapSee, Seeing AI, Sulivan+, SeeNSpeak, SpeechSticker and Supersense etc.
• Synapptics phones and tablets.
• Desktop computers and laptops with magnification and speech software – ZoomText, Jaws, Fusion, NVDA, Dolphin Guide Connect.
• Mac OS Accessibility including magnification and Voiceover.
• Windows 10 accessibility
• Microsoft Office applications
• Braille Technology
• J-Pad Joystick and switches for iPad
• Amazon Alexa

Karten Centre Staff

Beacon has just over 100 staff and we are proud to have more than 300 volunteers supporting our work.

Karten Centre Hours

For information please contact 01902 880111 or email

Services offered to the Network

Our pathways include IT training, activity sessions, health and wellbeing programmes, employment, a Talking Newspaper and social care.