Help for the visually impaired

John Freedman (Dep. Group Leader), Derek Davis (Group leader) and Evelyn Davis
John Freedman (Dep. Group Leader), Derek Davis (Group leader) and Evelyn Davis

A GROUP has been set up in Hastings to help those with visual impairment after a husband decided sufferers in the town needed their own support network.

The Macular Disease Society will meet on the fourth Monday of every month, with the next gathering taking place on Monday (June 27) at the United Reform Church, Robertson Street between 1.30pm and 3.30pm.

And the idea behind the new support group is to offer advice, encouragement and friendship to people suffering from the condition.

Macular disease (MD) causes a loss of central vision which can make carrying out everyday tasks such as shopping, reading, watching television and even recognising the faces of others very difficult.

Derek Davis, who is behind the group, said: “My wife developed macular disease two and a half years ago and we didn’t know anything about it, so decided to join the society.

“For the past two years we have been travelling to Eastbourne to attend their group and have been so impressed with what was going on that we felt we needed something in Hastings.

“The guest speakers I have heard previously have been very informative, so I hope this group will be able to provide people with more help and information geared directly towards macular disease.”

Tom McInulty, the charity’s support manager, was delighted the society had branched out. He said: “The group is here for anybody affected by macular disease. We want to encourage people to come along.

“When people get diagnosed with macular disease they often think they are the only one.

“The group gives them a great opportunity to meet other people with the condition and get support.

“It’s good to be able to learn from each other’s experiences and get tips - the peer support is fantastic. The group can really help people increase in confidence and become more independent.”

Along with offering support, the group also hopes to raise awareness of the condition, have regular guest speakers, run social events and arrange fundraising activities.

For information, or to join the local branch, call 0845 241 2041 or email help@maculardisease.org.