COVID-19 and Macular Society support groups

The UK government and devolved administrations are gradually relaxing the lockdown. We are aware that some Macular Society support groups are considering when they might be able to meet again and some have asked for our advice. 

For now, we are still recommending that groups do not meet. In deciding this, we are taking into account the wellbeing of the group members, the volunteers who run the groups, and our staff who visit groups. 

Most of our groups are for older people. The UK-wide advice to people over the age of 70 remains as it was; that people should try to stay at home as much as possible. 

Official guidance suggests that support groups could meet again with the reopening of community centres and similar venues. However, the precautions that are necessary to meet the requirements of being ‘COVID-19 Secure’ under the guidance are complex and onerous. 

We do not feel it is fair to expect our group leaders and their committees to take on this responsibility.   

Our staff who visit, and in some cases run groups who are temporarily without volunteers, could both be at risk by travelling between groups and also present a risk of carrying infection from one area to another. 

The exception to this is in the Channel Islands where there have been no cases of coronavirus for a number of weeks. 

Consequently, group volunteers will have the support of the Society if they do not wish to re-open their group at this time. 

We will continue to develop ways for groups to meet virtually and we do encourage groups to take up these ways of connecting, as we know they are providing a very valuable service. 

We want our groups to meet again as soon as possible so we will keep this advice under review. 

If you have any questions do please contact the Regional Team on 01264 560 259 

Thank you for all your support. 

Cathy Yelf