FRESH hope is being offered to Hyndburn residents suffering from macular degeneration after a new support group was launched.

The new group aims to increase the confidence and independence of people affected in Accrington and the surrounding area.

It has been organised by the Accrington and District Blind Society, is affiliated with The Macular Society, and will meet for the first time on Friday, April 11.

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 It 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.

Neil Fox from Accrington is affected by AMD and will be attending the new group. He said: “I’m looking forward to meeting other people with AMD. I have been to many groups at the Blind Society and am really pleased to know there is going to be one for people with macular problems.

“I can’t wait to share experiences with everyone. It can be difficult for people to understand what it is like.

“I want to help others come to terms with it.”

Michelle Dutton, 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 other’s 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 first meeting will be held from 11am to 1pm at the Accrington and District Blind Society, in Bank Street.

For more information on the group or macular degeneration, call 0300 3030 111 or alternatively you can email