Sight loss charity British Wireless for the Blind Fund (BWBF) is looking for blind or partially sighted people in County Durham to ‘adopt an Alexa’. The charity calling for volunteers as part of a new trial exploring the benefits of smart speaker technology for people living with sight loss. 


People taking part in in the trial will receive a free Alexa. By monitoring participants as they adapt to their new device, the charity hopes to better understand how people with sight loss use smart speakers, what barriers they face and what support could help more people to use the technology. 


BWBF is a national charity dedicated to bringing the joy of audio to people with sight loss. Since 1928, the charity has provided specially-adapted radios and audio devices for blind or partially sighted people on its free lifetime loan scheme. 


The results of the trial will help the charity to shape potential new nationwide projects to give more people with sight loss access to, and support to use, smart speakers. 


Steve Poole, BWBF’s Regional Development Manager for Northern England, said: “Alexa has become so ubiquitous, it might seem like there’s one in every home. But we know that many people with sight loss aren’t adopting this technology. For some, the barriers might be financial. For others, setting up the device using instructions designed for sighted people can be daunting. Or, particularly for older generations, it might boil down to uncertainty about taking the leap to emerging technologies. 


“We know that smart speakers have the potential to help people stay connected in a world that can be hard to navigate for people with sight loss. We hope this project will help more people to reap the benefits.” 


Anyone living with sight loss in County Durham or the North East of England can take part, provided they have access to the internet and have, or are willing to set up, their own Amazon account. Participants will be invited to keep their new Alexa at the end of the project. 


People interested ‘adopting an Alexa’ with BWBF should contact Steven Poole, Regional Development Manager for Northern England, on or by calling 07969 038084.