Exmouth Macular Support Group still helping sufferers despite coronavirus pandemic

PUBLISHED: 08:00 11 July 2020

The Exmouth Macular Society Support Group has been holding twice-weekly telephone meetings to ensure the members stay in contact with each other throughout the coronavirus crisis. Picture: Andrew Gray

The Exmouth Macular Society Support Group has been holding twice-weekly telephone meetings to ensure the members stay in contact with each other throughout the coronavirus crisis. Picture: Andrew Gray

Archant

Members of an Exmouth-based support group for people with macular disease have refused to let the coronavirus outbreak prevent them from being there for each other.

Despite being unable to meet face-to-face due to the pandemic, the Exmouth Macular Society Support Group is holding twice-weekly telephone meetings to ensure the members stay in contact with each other.

The group, which usually meets monthly at RAFA (Royal Air Force Association) headquarters in Imperial Road, is using the calls to continue offering information, encouragement and friendship to people living locally with macular disease.

During the calls, which take place at 10.30am every Tuesday and Friday, the group have continued to have guest speakers and undertake some fun activities.

The group even organised a special call to a fellow member, who had been unable to join meetings while recovering from a fall, to wish him a happy birthday.

Hazel Boyd, who has led the group for the past eight years, said: “Several members of the group are fairly isolated and live on their own. Many are shielding in line with the Government’s advice, so it has been hard for them.

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“In normal circumstances, we would have a trip out each month and we would also regularly meet up for coffee, or a breakfast or lunch.

“Those are the activities people are really missing, so that’s why the group calls have been so important and well received by everyone.”

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.

Hazel said: “Gill Laws from Exmouth Talking Newspaper joins us regularly to tell us about any interesting news stories we may have missed and I’m trying to arrange for a guest speaker from Stagecoach, which runs our local bus service, to talk to the group about what to expect when using the buses when they’re no longer shielding.”

For more information about the Exmouth Macular Society Support Group, or if you have macular disease and would like to join one of the group’s telephone meetings, contact Hazel Boyd on 01395 227739.


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