COVID-19 and Macular Society support groups

The Society is absolutely dedicated to the support all our groups, and the wonderful volunteers who run them, as we move to the next stage of this dreadful pandemic. So I wanted to explain our current position.

Our advice is this:

Groups should not meet in person until there is a complete relaxation of all coronavirus restrictions indoors in your nation/region/area.

This is because we believe it is wrong to ask our volunteers to take responsibility for making venues covid-safe and we have duty of care to our service users, and staff to provide a safe and supportive environment for everyone at our support groups.

We do not know when restrictions will be lifted entirely - the earliest will be 21 June.

Even when restrictions are lifted, we must acknowledge that a level of infection, and therefore risk, will remain in the population. Many of our volunteers and group members are considered vulnerable or very vulnerable and so may not wish to organise or participate in face-to-face events. We entirely respect these positions. Doctors and other scientists agree that infections may rise in the early autumn as a result of the general relaxations of restrictions over the summer. Not everyone will have been vaccinated and, of course, no vaccine in 100% effective. We also have to consider the possible impact of the new Indian variant.

The very last thing we want is for a group meeting to lead to a person being ill, or worse.

Therefore, we urge you to be very cautious in planning a return to face to face meetings. We have all sacrificed a great deal in the last 14 months. We do not want to risk the health of any of our precious volunteers, members or service users in the final stage of this global pandemic.

Consequently, the group volunteers will have our support if they choose not to reopen their group for a while even after general restrictions are lifted even if this is not until next year. They may wish to see if there is a rise in infection before doing so.

We respect the judgement, experience and knowledge of our volunteers and we know that you will make wise decisions on behalf of your members.

Your regional manager, 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 your specific circumstances and enquiries so please do not hesitate to contact us.

Once again I say - we will Beat Macular Disease. More than ever I know that we cannot do that without you. With you, I know that we succeed.

Best wishes

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

Stephen Scowcroft
Director of Services
Direct Line: 01264 560 643 EXT: 322
Mobile: 07909 203 698

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