Sight loss charity seeks volunteers for Carrick support group

A leading sight loss charity is calling for volunteers to help run a Carrickfergus-based support group for people with macular disease.

The Macular Society is appealing for anyone living locally who would be willing to give up some of their time to help organise and run the group’s monthly meetings, with help from the charity’s services and volunteering team. The group is also looking for people to assist with general tasks such as booking guest speakers each month.

The Carrickfergus Macular Support Group meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month, from 11am-12.30pm at Carrickfergus Library, 2 Joymount Court.

It is one of more than 350 groups of its kind in the UK offering vital information, encouragement and friendship to people who are affected by macular disease.

The group will be taking a break for Christmas and will not hold a meeting in December.

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, January, 23

As the population ages, increasing numbers of people are being affected by age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common type of macular disease.

AMD is the leading cause of sight loss in the UK, currently affecting more than 600,000 people.

Karen Toogood, Macular Society regional manager, said: “The Carrickfergus Macular Support Group provides a real lifeline for people living locally with sight loss. The peer support offered by the groups is absolutely vital – it’s incredibly reassuring for people to know that there are others who truly understand their situation.

“With more than 200 people in the UK being diagnosed with macular disease every day, the existence of our support groups has never been more important.

“If you have some free time and would be willing to help out once a month, either by helping to organise the meetings or assisting in some other way, we would love to hear from you.

“We will also be available to support our volunteers as they learn their new roles and provide any guidance they need going forward.”

In Northern Ireland, the Macular Society has been able to establish and run new sight loss support groups across the country thanks to £200,000 of National Lottery funding from the Big Lottery Fund.

Thanks to National Lottery players, the charity has more than doubled the number of its support groups in Northern Ireland over the past five years.

For more information about the Carrickfergus Macular Support Group, please contact Karen Toogood on 02891 466 305, or email [email protected]

For more information on macular degeneration, call the Macular Society’s helpline on 0300 3030 111 or email [email protected]