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The National Lottery Community Fund has generously awarded the Macular Society £1.6 million worth of grant funding since 2009, to provide practical and emotional support to people living with sight loss caused by macular disease. On behalf of all the people who benefit, we thank players of the National Lottery who have made it possible to support people affected by macular disease across all four countries of the UK.

The National Lottery Community Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. Since June 2004, it has awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people, and is currently funding our work in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, with grants totaling £808,000.

John Rose, director of the National Lottery Community Fund Wales, said: “In these uncertain times our priority is to ensure that National Lottery money continues to flow to charities, voluntary sector organisations and grassroots groups. I would like to congratulate the Macular Society on the work they are doing.

Over the past 14 years, National Lottery Community Fund grants have enabled us to reach over 7,000 people across the UK, like Eileen O’Neill, who attends the Coleraine Macular Society Group in Northern Ireland. Eileen told us: “The Low Vision Clinic was where I heard about the Macular Society for the very first time, which was the best appointment I ever had.

“I got in touch with my local group four years ago and I was warmly welcomed. From the beginning, it was a very positive experience and things took off from there. I started to get involved in Patient Information Events and research. I learnt so much, all these things helped to rebuild my confidence.

“I could see other people getting on with their lives and how others were coping. Having that support was a big thing that helped to accept my situation. I wasn’t on my own anymore. From the moment you come through the door it’s such a caring environment, as well as a great way to keep in touch with people. It creates that support network and it’s great we’re meeting face to face again.

“I honestly do not know where I would be today if I had never known about the Macular Society. It has made me make great strides.”

On behalf of everyone, like Eileen, who has benefitted from this funding, we thank players of the National Lottery who have made it possible for people to get the advice, information and support they need to manage their sight loss with confidence, independence and hope.