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TAFN’s founders first met on a U S chat site for the blind and vision impaired. Chris Cant was the man behind the idea of setting up a similar chat site for the blind and visually impaired in the UK.

Chris already had his own private chat client on Ventrillo. After a brain storming session between them, TAFN was born.

They were using access technology.
The founder members were friends.
They were networking.

2003 saw the launch of these exciting plans on Ventrillo…in mono!

Around 15 People from the U K joined them for the launch. This was a small group that also frequented the U S chat site.

The initial aims were simply:to:

  • Provide technical support.
  • Promote Friendship.

All running costs were provided by the members, and that is still true today.

Who were the founders?

Chris Cant:
AKA the Gentle Giant and first chair of TAFN.
Geoff Grant:
Who became first treasurer after several years of running his own successful business.
Leon Gilbert:
With his talents for all things technical, he became TAFN web master.
Steve Pallett:
He was TAFN’s vice chair, and became chair after the untimely passing of Chris Cant.
Audrey Tonge:
She became secretary, and bore the brunt of dealing with the Charities Commission.

Sadly Chris died in 2005. He was sorely missed for his charisma and easy manner.

I want to teach you so you can teach other people.


Don’t be scared of it…it’s only a bloody machine.

were just a couple of things he was renowned for saying.

Moving On

Ventrillo had served its purpose. The membership had grown and were now paying £3 a year.

In 2006 we left all things mono behind and took over our first stereo communicator. The software was developed by a blind Canadian, and written for full accessibility with access technology. This was one of the first stereo capable voice conferencing solutions available.

Events on Ventrillo had been few and far between. Now people were coming up with ideas for all kinds of events we could hold, on our shiny new voice conferencing solution. For the first time we could play audio, all be it through a third party mp3 player.

Currently we’re using the second stereo client with built in audio player, and plans are to have a new client by 2015.

TAFN is The Accessible Friends Network. Blind and partially sighted people, supporting each other online. Shared Vision Through Friendship.