COVID-19 and Macular Society support groups

The health and wellbeing of our staff, volunteers and service users are of paramount importance. At this time we must continue to balance our responsibilities to protect people from COVID-19 infection, with the recognition that our job is also to provide services that support the wellbeing of many thousands of people.

Our current guidance has been formed taking into account the views of staff, volunteers and trustees, as well as the Government’s advice at any given time. 

We take into account advice and guidance as it stands in each country and therefore all face to face group meetings in Scotland have been suspended with effect from Tuesday 14 December 2021. This is in line with the current Scottish Government guidance. We will continue to review our guidance for each county when new updates are released. This advice was last updated on Tuesday 21 December. 

Regional staff and groups

Due to the latest Scottish Government guidance, all group meetings in Scotland are being held virtually, on our telephone conferencing system. We continue to advise considerable caution in the face-to-face groups meetings held across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

While we understand how important our face-to-face services are, these are largely delivered to and by older people, many of whom remain vulnerable and who may be anxious about attending in person. Even without legal obligations, the responsibility for running a safe group remains substantial and we will support any volunteer who decides not to meet face to face with their group for the time being. We encourage groups to continue to use telephone conferencing as this helps keep the group connected and includes people who are still too anxious to attend a physical group meeting.

We have a checklist in place for groups that asks them to take into account the key issues and we will be asking every group to complete it before any meetings.

We strongly advise against meetings being held in the homes of volunteers or in other venues that do not fulfil the requirements of our checklist.

Regional managers are continuing to work closely with group leaders to discuss the arrangements for any group planning to meet face to face. This is important, as we need to ensure that all necessary precautions have been put in place.

In line with Government guidelines, we have asked all staff who can work from home to do so. Therefore, at this time, no regional managers will be visiting any group meetings that are still going ahead.

While many of our volunteers and members will be vaccinated, not everyone will be and, of course, no vaccine is 100% effective. The very last thing we want is for a group meeting to lead to a person being ill, or worse.

Our team of regional managers, the support team in Andover, the senior managers of the Society and I as CEO, are all at your disposal to discuss and talk through everyone's specific circumstances and enquiries so please do not hesitate to contact us.

Best wishes

Cathy Yelf
Direct Line: 01264 321 973
Mobile: 07775 683 452

Stephen Scowcroft
Director of Services
Direct Line: 01264 560 643 
Mobile: 07909 203 698

Maria Storesund
Head of Regions
Phone: 01264 560 006
Mobile: 07884 742 517