“I have been so inspired by the people I have met volunteering for the Macular Society, it has really helped with my own diagnosis.”

19 Aug 2021 12:49 PM

The Macular Society successfully bid for a grant of £300,000 from The National Lottery Community Fund in Wales to let them carry on helping over 2,500 people losing their sight in Wales.

Nearly 1.5m people in the UK have macular disease. It affects people of all ages. Age-related macular degeneration is the most common condition, generally affecting people over the age of 55 and the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK, affecting more than 600,000 people. Caroline Noall has been a volunteer with the Macular Society and more recently used their services herself, she told me:

“I started as a volunteer because my Dad had had macular degeneration and I wanted to help out. A while ago, I was diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration myself and being involved with the Macular Society has kept me going. I have been so inspired by the people I have met. I am a member of my local group and they offer so much information and support, plus the advice line has been invaluable in helping me understand the condition and treatment.

“As a volunteer, I was trained to deliver “Skills for Seeing” which is a course we do to help people make their best of the sight they still have. When the pandemic came everything ground to a halt for a little while, then we got going and now I am still offering “Skills for Seeing” training by phone although it is more difficult than when you are with people, but we have kept going, I also volunteer for the befriending service the Society offers.”

The Macular Disease Society will spend the grant building on their previous project to deliver peer and practical support, advice and information to people in Wales with macular disease. Maria Storesund, Head of Regions for the Macular Society explains what impact the grant will have:

“Our support services are hugely in demand, and the pandemic has only further highlighted how isolating sight loss can be. Many of those affected by macular disease are older and vulnerable. It’s critically important that we’re here to provide practical and emotional support and connect them with others who understand what they are going through.

“This funding plays a crucial role in supporting people with macular disease in Wales at a time when they need our services more than ever before. We’d like to thank the National Lottery Community Fund, and all of the Lottery players, for their ongoing support.”

Andrew Owen Head of Funding at The National Lottery Community Fund in Wales added

‘National Lottery players raise £36 million each week for good causes throughout the UK, last year we funded over 8,000 projects across the UK to bring communities together, over 7,500 supporting health and well-being. The Macular Society project is an excellent example of how creatively groups have risen to the challenges thrown up by the Pandemic, they have found ways to safely support the people relying on them. I hope this grant will enable them to continue offering the support and advice so many people with this condition value.”

The Macular Society is just one of the 74 communities which shared more than £3million (£3,300,305) across Wales this month, to read more follow this link which will download a word document to your computer.