Macular Society Support Group Terms of Reference (for virtual groups and other informal groups)

The Macular Society aims are to Beat Macular Disease by finding a cure and offering the best advice and support to people affected by macular disease. Our groups provide valuable social and peer support to people affected by macular disease, their families and carers.

These Terms of Reference (ToR) are in place to make sure your group is covered by the Macular Society’s insurance policy.  

How the groups are run

In legal terms, the Group is part of the Macular Society and operates under the Society’s official charity numbers:

England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands: 1001198

Scotland: SCO42015.

This means that the group agrees to abide by the Society’s policies which are summarised in the group handbook and acts upon recommendation and advice as communicated by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Macular Society.

Our groups are open to anyone aged over 18 who is affected by macular disease whether sighted or visually impaired including their family and friends. The group can decide how it’s run, as long as the majority of the group members agree. However, the group’s rules cannot conflict with the Macular Society’s own policies or be against Charity Law. The group will need to nominate a Group Contact so that we can keep in touch with the group.

The groups should not do or say anything that commits the Macular Society to any particular action or expenditure that is not approved by Head office in Andover. It should not make statements in public on behalf of the Society without our agreement first, or do or say anything that might damage our reputation.

The group is called the Macular Society XXX Support Group. It will use our current materials and branding such as our official logo. The Society will provide branded materials for the group to use and the group is asked not to create its own.

The group has the full support of the Society’s Regional Services team who can help run a group for up to 6 months when no volunteer is available.


If you start collecting subscriptions or want to fundraise you will need to sign a formal groups agreement.


The Macular Society’s insurance policy covers all the normal group activities. This includes, group meetings, outings and events, including fundraising activities, exhibitions and awareness events. It does not cover potentially dangerous activities.

Disputes in a group

If a dispute arises within a group, the Regional Manager will help resolve it by engaging all the group members to agree a solution. If there is a dispute between a group and the Society, the CEO of the Society will work with the group to resolve the matter. If unsuccessful the Society’s Trustees may be asked to help resolve the issue.

All the Society’s usual complaints procedure (outlined in the Society’s Complaints Procedure Policy) are open to group members and volunteers and these are available from our website or on request.

Closing a group

A decision to suspend or close a group should be made in consultation with the Regional Manager and the Society.

If a group is closed, member contact details must be returned to the Society and any other personal data held by the group must be destroyed. Any remaining monies (petty cash) held by the group must be returned to the Society.

Questions and support

Remember that your Regional Manager and all the Regional Services team are available to help you with all aspects of running a Macular Society Group including answering questions about these terms of reference.

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