LEADING sight loss charity the Macular Society has been boosted by a grant from Big Lottery Fund, which will support its work across Northern Ireland for the next 12 months.
The charity has been awarded £50,000 of continuation funding from Big Lottery Fund Northern Ireland’s ‘Reaching Out – Connecting Older People’ programme to help it deliver vital services to people with the macular disease and other sight loss conditions across the country.
In Northern Ireland, it is estimated that more than 33,000 people have macular disease, with 12 new people being diagnosed every day.
This latest grant takes the total amount of funding awarded by Big Lottery Fund to the Macular Society in Northern Ireland to £250,000 since 2009. This vital investment has enabled the Society to deliver a wide range of support services all over the country and triple the number of peer support groups for people with macular disease.
To celebrate the award of the continuation funding, committee member Sandra McNamee and funding officer Chris McClure from the Big Lottery, joined the Macular Society at one of its volunteer development days in Belfast, cutting a specially-made cake to mark the occasion.
Tessa Barrett, Macular Society head of service delivery, said: “This additional funding will strengthen groups and volunteers in Northern Ireland to provide more life-changing support to people in Northern Ireland with macular disease, especially reaching people in more isolated, rural communities. We’re immensely grateful to Big Lottery Fund Northern Ireland for its continued support.
“It’s our mission to end macular disease and we’re investing heavily to become the largest funder of macular research in the UK. This will help ensure new and better treatments become more readily available and that a cure will be found more quickly.
“Alongside this, we need to make as many people as possible aware of the macular disease and the devastating impact it can have on a person’s life. We also need to let anyone affected know about the wide range of support that’s available and continue to deliver the services they need.”
Chris McClure, Big Lottery Fund NI’s funding officer, said: “It has been a pleasure to meet so many of the group members, volunteers and partners involved in the project and see the incredible difference which this National Lottery grant has made to older people across Northern Ireland. I would like to congratulate Karen and her army of volunteers, who have tripled support for people with the macular disease since the funding started.
“We are delighted to help sustain this growth by funding an additional year of the project. We will be excited to watch the support groups thriving and coming into their own over the next 12 months.”
For more information on macular degeneration, call the Macular Society’s Helpline on 0300 3030 111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org