Volunteer Matters - August 2016

Welcome to Volunteer Matters

Thank you for your continued support and the difference you make to those with macular diesease. We will be 30 years old new year! During that time we have helped thousands of people.We wouldnt be able to reach so many people if it wasnt for you. We ask a lot of our volunteers but can we take this opportunity to ask you to read the letter enclosed about data protection? It is important we have confirmation that you understand how to hold and use information about other people in your volunteer role.

What’s happening?

A number of volunteer development days are being held this year. You’ll receive an invitation (if you haven’t already!) to attend an event in your area. These events are a great way to meet with other volunteers, sharing ideas, hints and tips with each other as well as finding out more about our other volunteer opportunities and hearing an update on the Society; well worth attending! 

For those who are familiar with social media we are looking into creating a private group on Facebook. Before we do, we want to know what you think. Would you sign up? We can share information, hints and tips and the latest information of technology.

Let us know your thoughts. Call the team on 01264 326 622.


We are delighted with the response to our befriending service and to all of you who give your time so generously. We are now able to reach more people than ever to give them much needed emotional support. Our aim is to match each befriender with two people, but we need more service users.

Do you know of a group, meeting place or service supporting older people? Are there people in your support group who could benefit from a regular call? If you can put up a poster or pass on information about our befriending service, please speak to Sarah or Sharon on 01264 326 622.


Thank you for the returning the evaluation forms, we know we have reached 1,807 people through talks given this year. Can you help us reach 2,000?

Please remember to return your evaluation - or give us call -after each talk so we can measure the impact we make.

Many speakers are reporting success in approaching both residential and care homes to talk about macular degeneration. Michael Haines from Powys dropped into a home local to him. He said “I got a great response. The staff were really keen to know what it was like for people they were looking after with AMD and immediately started suggesting ways that they could change things to make life easier for their visually impaired residents”.

Please contact your regional manager if you need some ideas about how to approach a talk to a care home.


We are busy working on plans for our 30th anniversary at the moment and hope to share them with you shortly. They include celebrations and an opportunity for our corporate partners to get together in September. If you know of any companies interested in offering their support contact Colin Ivey, Corporate Development Manager colin.ivey@macularsociety.org

Group news

Don’t forget to include a date to celebrate our 30th birthday in your programme between May and October. Place-names, Surnames, Scoundrels and Scalliwags. No, not an obscure crossword clue but an entertaining talk with a difference! If your group is within an hour or two of central Staffordshire, we highly recommend Brian Rich. Please call Angela on 01264 326 622 for more information.

Gadget Guides

Since this project began in 2013 you have demonstrated gadgets to over 2,400 people which is a fantastic achievement. Please keep your evaluation forms coming in! We have decided to discontinue the feedback cards that you hand out to those attending your demonstrations. Please dispose of any stock you have remaining.

We are now able to offer you more support in booking demonstrations, hopefully many of you will already have seen the difference. Please get in touch in you need our assistance.

Skills for Seeing’ trainers

We are coming up to the 10th Anniversary of the ‘Skills for Seeing’ programme. Since the pilots were held late in 2006, we have supported over 2000 people, helping them to use their vision more effectively. We will be celebrating this amazing achievement, more news on this later in the year. If you’ve had a really positive outcome from the training you’ve delivered, please share it with us. We need real life case studies to demonstrate the difference this training can make. Please use the updated IRS (Individual record sheet), it is now just 2 pages in length so easier to complete.

If you haven’t yet booked your place on a ‘Skills for Seeing’ workshop, we still have some places available. Workshops are taking place in Andover on the 2 September and Manchester on the 28 October. Call the volunteer team to book your place.

We are working really hard to match you to learners and will be looking at ways we can promote ‘Skills for Seeing’ on a local level. Sadly we are unable to promote this service nationally as we don’t have trainers covering the whole of the UK . Please contact your Regional Manager who can help you make some local links. We do have over 200 learners who currently don’t have a trainer in their area; to reduce this we will be contacting you if can help just outside of your area. It would be great if you were able to take these referrals on but we fully appreciate travel can be difficult so please don’t feel obliged.

Contact details

For general enquiries, please contact your regional manager in the first instance, or the services and volunteering team at Andover on 01264 326 622 or email volunteer@macularsociety.org

Angie Nicholas, programme manager for skills for seeing and gadget guides – tel: 01264 321 977 or email angie.n@macularsociety.org

Sarah Harrop, programme manager for befriending, speakers, tech talkers, buddies and Macular Matters – tel: 01264 322 411 or sarah.h@macularsociety.org