Big Lottery Fund – Thanks a million!

Since 2009, Big Lottery Fund has helped people with macular disease with awards totalling almost one million pounds. We say an enormous thank you to players of the National Lottery for supporting our mission to ensure excellence in treatment, rehabilitation and support for people affected by macular disease across the UK.

Nationwide support

Big Lottery Fund is currently funding services in Wales, to boost the independence and social inclusion of people diagnosed with macular disease. A grant of £335,000 from the ‘People and Places’ programme will allow over 1,300 people to access our free services, made possible by the commitment of 270 volunteers, half of whom have macular disease themselves.

In Northern Ireland we are expanding our network of sight loss support groups thanks to £200,000 of funding from the Big Lottery Fund’s ‘Reaching Out - Connecting Older People’ programme. This vital investment will enable us to more than double the number of macular support groups in Northern Ireland over five years.

Julie Harrison, Big Lottery Fund's NI chair, said: "We are pleased to see the difference the Macular Society is making to older people across Northern Ireland who live in rural areas, sheltered accommodation or care homes. Our Connecting Older People programme is supporting a range of vital projects like this one that are transforming the lives of older people in our communities who are at risk of isolation, depression, mental and physical ill health and low self-esteem."

In addition we received funding of £425,00 from Big Lottery Fund’s ‘Reaching Communities Programme’ in 2012; which empowered 200 dedicated volunteers in the North of England to deliver invaluable support to people in the region affected by macular disease.

Supporting good causes

Big Lottery Fund distributes 40 per cent of the money raised by the National Lottery to support projects, both and big and small focusing on health, education, environment and charitable purposes. They invest over £650 million a year in projects which make a huge difference to the lives of people like Elaine Orwin, (right), who attends the Northern Ireland Bangor support group.

Elaine said: “When I retired from teaching I couldn’t even get out of the house safely. It was my support worker who told me about a little local macular support group. I went along and I haven’t looked back since".

“We share our stories, our concerns and how we’re feeling about treatment. It’s so important, some people have been so frightened at the prospect of their injections, but now they are the people at the awareness events telling people about macular disease. It is a big journey for people.”

We are deeply grateful for the substantial support from the Big Lottery Fund, which is enabling us to reach more people like Elaine.

We are committed to increasing the positive impacts for everyone affected by macular disease while sustaining the existing support which so many vulnerable people currently rely upon. Only through the generosity of all our supporters can we continue to develop and deliver our services to the growing number of people who need them.