A Coleraine based support group for people with sight loss will be returning in person for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic began.
The Coleraine Macular Society Support Group will meet face-to-face on Thursday, 7 April at 1.30pm, at the First Presbyterian Church in Coleraine. The group will then meet at the same time and location on the first Thursday of each month between 1.30-3.30pm.
Leading sight loss charity, the Macular Society, together with local people, organises the group, which aims to offer information, encouragement and friendship to people who are affected by macular disease.
Macular disease is the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK. Nearly 1.5 million people are currently affected and many more are at risk. The disease can have a devastating effect on people’s lives, leaving them unable to drive, read or see faces. Many people affected describe losing their sight as being similar to bereavement. There is still no cure and most types of the disease are not treatable. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common form of macular disease, affecting more than 600,000 people, usually over the age of 50.
Ernie Kyle, Coleraine Support Group leader said: “Our groups have not met since the pandemic first began and we know that has been difficult for a lot of people who rely on them for socialising, information and support.
“Throughout the pandemic we have continued to provide telephone services to keep people as connected as possible but to bring the groups back face-to-face in a safe environment makes such a difference.
“The local group is welcome to everyone, be that new or existing members, those newly diagnosed with macular disease, their family, friends and carers. We know the peer support can be so helpful and our groups can really help people increase in confidence and become more independent.”
The group also invite guest speakers to their meetings who provide information on a variety of subjects including local services, research updates, macular conditions and the impact on daily lives. The meetings are also social occasions where people can chat over a cup of tea and share hints and tips on living with a macular condition.
For more information about the Coleraine Macular Society Support Group, and to confirm your attendance for the next group meeting, please contact the group leader Ernie Kyle on 02870 343 001