Pia was founded in 1985 as a typesetting co-operative designing and producing printing plates.
The first major publishing contract was to publish the BBC’s In Touch Handbook, which accompanied the Radio 4 programme for people with visual impairment. This involved the significant challenge to publish the handbook simultaneously in braille, large print and audio, which was a first for UK publishing.
Pia grew and became Gwasg Pia Cyf, a limited company, in 1992, and the developer of the braille translation software, Braille Maker. This became the leading UK braille translation software and formed the basis of Pia's role in selling braille software and embossers, and providing the technical support for those. It was at this stage that Pia also established a small braille bureau, translating and producing braille documents.
Our fast-growing reputation as a quality braille production company soon led to membership of the Braille Authority of the UK (BAUK), the UK Association of Braille Producers (UKABP), the Confederation of Transcribed Information Services (COTIS) and the British Printing Industries Federation (BPIF). During the late nineties Pia also organised several ‘Better Braille’ conferences in an attempt to promote higher standards within the industry.
Today Pia is proud to have an excellent reputation within the industry and to be closely associated with the UK Association for Accessible Formats (UKAAF), which replaced BAUK, UKABP and COTIS. We're working hard to continue to improve the quality and availability of accessible formats in the UK. We provide a wide range of accessible formats to many large and small organisations, providing great customer service. But we're especially proud to be responsible for braille and large print versions, of national educational materials, offering children with VI throughout England and Wales the best possible opportunity to demonstrate their abilities.
Pia continues to plan for change and to invest in its future as the UK's leading accessible format transcription company.