Local support groups and information events

Our regional services are delivered by a combination of paid staff and dedicated volunteers. We provide virtual support and face to face support, sometimes one to one and sometimes in group settings. We also run regional information events. These services are all managed by our professional and dedicated team of Regional Managers. For your local Regional Manager please refer to the list at the bottom of this page.

The services we offer across the UK:

Peer support groups

    Our groups provide information and support to those with macular disease, along with their family and friends. They are open to all ages and a great place to develop friendships, increase confidence, and raise awareness and understanding of macular disease. Our group settings are also a great place to find out about free services available to people living with sight loss.

    Telephone Support Groups

      Our virtual groups are an opportunity to share useful information, updates and hear friendly voices. They last for up to an hour and run at different times and frequencies. It’s a place to:

      • Hear about Macular Society services and other local services.
      • Listen to interesting speakers on a variety of subjects such as research, local projects and initiatives.
      • Share experiences and hints and tips on living with sight loss.
      • Create long lasting friendships.
      • Develop confidence and increase your knowledge around macular disease. 

      Face to Face Support Groups

        Unfortunately, owing to the coronavirus outbreak, we have temporarily suspended face to face activities. However, we are continuing to review this on a regular basis. Please read our Guidance for Support groups, issued 20 July 2020.

        These groups are a place to share useful information, hear about Macular Society and other local, regional and national services. Group members have an opportunity to listen to interesting speakers on a variety of subjects such as research, local projects and initiatives. The meetings are also a place to share experiences and hints and tips on living with sight loss. They help people to create long lasting friendships, increases confidence and a great place to increase your knowledge around macular disease. The safe and comfortable environment enables our members to be more active and confident outside their home environment. The meetings run for anything up to a couple of hours and are held at different times and frequencies.

        Working Age and Young People’s (WAYP) Support Groups

          Our WAYP groups are for anyone over the age of 16. They are informal social groups where you can share and receive information and peer support for all aspects of daily life when living with macular disease.

          These groups are specifically for people who would like to seek advice and discuss more complex issues relating to for example:

          • Employment
          • Access to work
          • Welfare benefits

          This service is closely connected to the Working Age and Young People’s service.

          Winter Warmer Group calls

            A new series of weekly calls which we have launched to help lift people’s spirits. The Winter Warmer series, feature light-hearted discussions and entertainment from people from many walks of life. These calls run in the heart of winter on a Wednesday evening for an hour from the beginning of November 2020 to the end of February 2021.

            To find out more and to book your place call the Volunteer team on: 01264 326 622 or contact your local Regional Manager on the details below.

            Networking/Information events

            Regional Patient Information Events

            These events are run in partnership with local clinic professionals. They are set up and run by our Regional Managers and are designed to connect patients with their local clinics. Due to COVID-19 we are unable to run our usual face to face Patient Information Days and therefore these events are now either held on line via the Zoom platform or via our teleconference calling system.

            We cover subjects such as AMD-related topics, research and clinic processes. We invite various professionals who you would expect to see when you attend an eye clinic for example local clinicians, ECLOs, nurses and ROVIs.  

            These events ensure that patients (and their family, friends and supporters) have a clear understanding of the impact of diagnosis and the treatment options available. They aim to:

            • Improve the patient journey for patients, family members, supporters.
            • Continue to provide the opportunity to connect patients with local clinics and support services.

            The Macular Society has additional services including Befriending, Skills for Seeing and more, which can be accessed on our Support for You webpage.

            The Team

            Who to contact to find out more….

            Our team of friendly and knowledgeable Regional Managers cover the whole of the UK. Together with the Head of Regions they support and manage all the regional services and provide local information, advice and signpost to a variety of different services. They can answer questions and provide information and advice about any aspect of living with macular disease.

            Maria Storesund – Head of Regions
            maria.storesund@macularsociety.org  Tel: 07884 742 517.

            To find out what is happening in your local area please contact one of our Regional Managers listed below:

            England

            Stella Black – Senior Regional Manager for the South 
            stella.black@macularsociety.org  Tel: 07494 467 980

            Amanda Read – Senior Regional Manager for the North 
            amanda.read@macularsociety.org Tel: 07432 700 487

            Jo Reader – Regional Manager for Yorkshire and North East Lincolnshire 
            joanne.reader@macularsociety.org Tel: 07376 398 916

            Judy Pride– Regional Manager for the South West 
            judy.pride@macularsociety.org  Tel: 07947 373244

            Dianne Nicola – Regional Manager for the London area 
            dianne.nicola@macularsociety.org Tel: 07824 330 951

            Wales

              Adele Francis – Senior Regional Manager for Wales 
              adele.francis@macularsociety.org Tel:07494 468 007

              Marian Williams – Regional Manager for North Wales 
              marian.williams@macularsociety.org Tel: 07495 054 053

              Scotland

                Dr Hazel McFarlane – Senior Regional Manager for Scotland 
                hazel.mcfarlane@macularsociety.org
                Tel: 07586 168 803

                Laura Gray – Regional Manager for North East Scotland 
                laura.gray@macularsociety.org Tel: 07948 352 967

                John Furze – Regional Manager for North West Scotland 
                john.furze@macularsociety.org Tel: 07711 133 733

                Northern Ireland

                  Karen Toogood – Senior Regional Manager for Northern Ireland 
                  karen.t@macularsociety.org Tel: 07852 885 925

                  Dr Emma Baxter – Regional Manager for the Western and Southern Health and Social Care Trusts Northern Ireland
                  emma.baxter@macularsociety.org  Tel: 07879 529 267

                  Groups Admin team - based in our Head Office in Andover, Hampshire

                    If you have any questions or queries, please call our dedicated Groups Admin team on 01264 560 259.

                    Angela Jackson – Office & Regional Administration Manager 
                    angela.j@macularsociety.org
                    Tel: 01264 321 986 Mobile: 07498 014 455

                    Charlotte Fogerty - Regional Administrator

                    Melinda Boardman – Regional Administrator

                    Olivia Gray - Regional Administration