A BLIND man from Oxford has set up an internet radio station to further support isolated visually-impaired people in the county and around the world.

Ian Francis originally set up a voluntary organisation called The VIP Lounge in 2013, which now has more than 3,000 members.

He is launching an internet radio station and a website to give more people access to the support the organisation offers.

The West Oxford man, who is partially sighted but registered blind, said: “We will be reaching out to many frightened visually impaired people not only in the UK but throughout the world.

“Among them are lonely, isolated people who are too scared to even leave their homes.

“It has grown to so many members – people wanted to be a part of it and they don’t even realise they are also giving support and advice.

He added: “I am still amazed such a small idea has become so valuable to so many people and I hope it can now reach even more.”

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The station, The VIP Lounge, will launch in December from media city in Salford and will also include a website with interactive speech recognition software enabling listeners to request songs and access support.

Segments of the radio’s content will be broadcast from various countries including Australia and the United States, detailing local advice and support.

The organisation does everything from putting blind people in touch with mental health support and social services to informing them of new products.

Talking microwave ovens, talking freeview boxes and a device that scans and dictates food packaging labels have all recently been recommended.

Mr Francis said the organisation was targeted at those who had been affected from birth and have slipped through the net of charities designed to help the blind.

The membership has grown through Facebook and specially set-up chat rooms for blind people to share experiences.

The 47-year-old said: “We will be a friend, provide information and encouragement and give support via the broadcasts.

“Hopefully we can bring people to talk in one of the many internet chat rooms we run.”

He added: “One of the biggest problems is with the families of visually impaired people.

“We often educate them to allow their blind relatives to make their own mistakes and have their independence.”

The organisation needs around £3,000 to run the radio for the first year and called for donations.

Go to crowdfunding.justgiving.com/hazel-hyland to give money to support the cause.

Mr Francis lost his trainee guide dog Toffee earlier this year after he ran away at Oxford Railway station.

His heartfelt plea was retweeted thousands of times on Twitter even by celebrities such as a Graham Norton.

Toffee eventually found his own way home a few days later.