A leading sight loss charity is calling for volunteers to help run a Bathgate-based support group for people with macular disease.
The Macular Society needs people living locally who would be willing to give up some of their time to help run the group.
Duties will include organising meetings, booking speakers and serving refreshments to members.
The group meets on the fourth Thursday of each month at the town’s British Legion Hall and its next meeting will be held on Thursday 24 January.
The volunteers, who are organised by the Macular Society in partnership with local people, is one of more than 400 of its kind in the UK. It offers information, encouragement and friendship to people who are affected by macular disease.
Macular disease is the biggest cause of blindness in the UK. Nearly 1.5 million people are currently affected and many more are at risk. Age-related macular degeneration is the most common form of macular disease, affecting more than 600,000 people, usually over the age of 50.
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 and there is still no cure and most types of the disease are not treatable.
Jamie Cuthbertson, Macular Society regional manager, said: “The Bathgate 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 around 300 people in the UK being diagnosed with macular disease every day, the existence of our support groups has never been more important. No prior experience of macular disease is needed – just excellent organisational skills, lots of enthusiasm and a passion for helping to make a difference to peoples’ lives. Support will be available for all new volunteers from myself and our services and volunteering team as they learn their new roles.
“If you have some free time and would be willing to help out, we would love to hear from you.”
Mr Cuthbertson added: “Every day, around 300 people are diagnosed with macular disease and it is the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK. Macular disease is cruel and isolating. It steals your sight, your independence, and your ability to do the things you love.”
For more information about the Bathgate Macular Support Group, please contact Jamie Cuthbertson, Macular Society regional manager, on 0141 942 1083 or 07903 520 350, or email jamie.c@macularsociety.
For more information on macular disease, call the Macular Society’s Helpline on 0300 3030 111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.