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Macular Society boosts services in Highlands and Islands

Folk living with macular degeneration in Orkney are being encouraged to make use of local support service, including phone services run volunteers across the Highlands and Islands. 

Services helmed by charity Macular Society have benefited to the tune of £120,000, this year, from the National Lottery Community Fund. Support work, such as telephone befriending schemes, aim to ease increased feelings of loneliness and isolation people with sight loss experience, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

Volunteer befrienders provide a regular phone call, which can help rebuild confidence and independence. The Macular Society aims to match people with a befriender who shares common interests, experiences and understands what living with macular disease is like.

John Furze, Macular Society regional manager for the Highlands and Islands, said: “Macular disease can be a cruel and isolating condition at any time, but for someone who is shielding during the coronavirus outbreak and isn’t having face-to-face contact with anyone, it can be extremely challenging.

“The Macular Society’s befriending service offers people with macular disease an opportunity to have regular interaction with someone who can provide a reassuring presence and a friendly ear.

“Our befrienders have macular conditions themselves, so they truly know what the person they’re speaking to is experiencing. But it’s also entirely user-driven and the calls don’t have to focus on sight loss — if you want to talk to someone with similar hobbies or interests, the Society will do everything it can to find a befriender who’ll be a suitable match for you.”

For further information on what services are available locally, you can contact John Furze on 01463 214 190/ 07711 133 733, or email john.furze@macularsociety.org.