A grant from a fund managed by DCF has ensured a local support group for people with a degenerative eye disease has been able to offer members free days out for another year.
The Bude & Holsworthy Macular Group organise two group outings a year and regular meetings, providing social opportunities that might otherwise be unavailable for people with the condition macular degeneration.
Macular Degeneration is a condition of the eyes, affecting the middle part of the vision. It can affect everything in day to day life including reading, watching TV, recognising faces and driving.
The Macular Society, a supportive network to which Bude & Holsworthy belong, was initially formed in 1987 with a single group aimed at providing both practical and emotional support to those with the disease.
Meeting other people with macular disease can help you understand your condition, come to terms with sight loss, share information about treatment and ultimately stay independent. Every group is different but many invite guest speakers, run social events, arrange outings and holidays, fundraise, campaign and work with local eye care professionals.
It now has well over 400 groups under its umbrella, a sign of huge increase in known cases – close to 1.5 million in the UK today, with 300 people being diagnosed every day. The Bude & Holsworthy Macular Group’s numbers have paralleled that of the national picture, increasing its membership from eight to over 20 in a period of just four years, and outgrowing two premises in the process.
Group Leader David, who himself has the condition, explained the importance of the Devon group to its members:
You can only imagine what a life changer this disease is and the biggest loss of independence is losing your DVLA licence. With our members suffering from this disease, these meetings and trips are a vital part of their life and wellbeing. Many of our members live alone, the age group ranges from 65-101.
Rising numbers has meant that running this highly valued service is incurring bigger costs. And it is with that predicament the group approached DCF for a grant earlier this year, and were able to be matched with the Thorne Farm Wind Turbine Community Benefit Fund.
Community Benefit Funds are often made available by developers when wind or solar farms are built, to help improve the lives of people in their surrounding areas.
The Bude & Holsworthy Macular Group were pleased to report that the grant they received had been used to great success so far. This autumn the members and their carers had enjoyed a tram ride and lunch, followed by ice-cream and a long walk along the front of Devon’s seaside town of Seaton.
But the group warn us that the future for them is not going to be easy.
Even with such a rural group as Bude & Holsworthy and our natural growth, this can only get worse with our ageing population and therefore it certainly is NOT a “one-off project”. Until research can eventually find a cure, and as all groups are self-funding, financial help will be ongoing.
Bude & Holsworthy Macular group were supported by a grant of £1,250 from the Thorne Farm Wind Turbine Community Benefit fund in April 2019.
To find out more about our Community Benefit Funds click here.
View the Macular Society website here.