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New sight loss support group in Frome

A new support group is being launched to help increase the confidence and independence of people affected by macular degeneration in Frome and the surrounding area.

The East Mendip Peer Support Project together with The Macular Society and local patients have organised the group, which will meet for the first time on 17th July. The ongoing aim of the group will be to offer information, encouragement and friendship to people who are affected by the condition.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects the central vision and is the most common cause of sight loss in the UK, affecting more than 500,000 people. More people are affected as our population ages.

Audrey Harries approached her local community health and wellbeing worker about setting up a support group. She said, “I have been a member of the Macular Society since 2003 and I think that a group in Frome would be really exciting. It would offer support to many people with Macular Degeneration who might be feeling isolated, and who would really like to meet people in similar situations to them.”

Jenny Hartnoll, community health and wellbeing worker for East Mendip said, “It is fantastic that patients feel able to contact me with suggestions of peer support groups that they would like to find out about or even help set up. Audrey is a real inspiration, she pointed out that there wasn’t a Macular Degeneration Peer Support Group and she is taking a key role in helping set up this group.

“I am supporting her with setting up the group. I have been able to link her with the Macular Society and we are helping other patients find out about this support that is going to be available in the community.”

Tom McInulty, Macular Society Group support and development manager said, “This new group is here for anybody affected by macular degeneration, we want to encourage people to come along. Friends and family are also very welcome.

“It’s good to be able to learn from each others experiences and get tips. The peer support can be so helpful. Our groups can really help people increase in confidence and become more independent.

“The group will invite guest speakers on a variety of subjects, including macular conditions and their impact on our daily lives. The meetings are also social occasions where we can chat over a cup of tea.”

The Macular Society is inviting anyone affected by the condition to join them at the first group meeting, taking place on Thursday 17th July from 10.30am to 12.30pm at Frome Medical Practice, Enos Way (BA11 2FH).

For more information on the group or macular degeneration, call the Macular Society’s helpline on 0300 3030 111 or email