Our new adventure trip video is here!

We are delighted that we have been able to produce a video about our adventure trips this year. We think the video shows how just important these events are to our members - and how much fun they are too! Please click below to see for yourselves.

MACS Adventure Trips

Just seeing her do things that I never in my wildest dreams thought possible. Just seeing her confidence with others was amazing, she seems to feel more comfortable being herself when she is at MACS events, unlike when she’s at school or out in the community.
Parent of a MACS child, 2017

This year, 32 MACS children took part in our Caldecotte adventure breaks. We ran a five day trip for children aged ten and over and a long weekend for children aged between five and ten who attended with a carer.

The older children all took part in activities such as canoeing, climbing, zorbing, fencing, crate stacking and archery.

These activity breaks are one of the best things MACS has to offer, it is an opportunity for the children to be with others just like them and not feel isolated.
Parent of a MACS older child

When we asked our young people about the trip, all of them told us they felt proud of something they had done and that they had tried something for the first time on the trip.

I enjoyed the sailing, especially when I stopped the boat from tipping over in the windy conditions.
MACS young person, 2017

The younger children all did activities such as archery, sailing and climbing. We asked the parents of these children about the trip and they all said they would recommend the trip to other families. 75% of them said their child found it easier to make new friends having been on the trip and 87% said they had made or strengthened friendships during the trip.

She loved the sports activities, but most of all she enjoyed meeting another girl of her age with the same condition, and how they played and chatted and helped each other. They got on so well.
Parent of younger MACS child, 2017

Small charity… BIG impact – MACS wins national award!

MACS wins FSI Small Charity BIG Impact award!

We are absolutely thrilled to announce that MACS were crowned winners in the first ever national Small Charity, BIG impact awards, as part of Small Charity week, fighting off competition from over 300 other charities. Robbie Crow and Fay Skevington accepted the award at a ceremony in London on 25th July.

The FSI Small Charity Big Impact Awards are a way to highlight the work of small charities (those with a turnover under £1.5 million) and the impact they make on a local, national and international level.

Our members know the difference that MACS has made to their lives, so it’s fantastic that the impact MACS is being recognised nationally. As well as training, advice and a new video about MACS, our prize includes a book containing information about MACS and other award winners being delivered to Number 10 Downing Street.

The judges, a range of funders and well respected charity leaders, said:

“MACS won their category as they clearly showed how they measure their impact, use it to improve their services and share it to build trust. We would like to congratulate MACS on their award and their fantastic work.”

Robbie Crow, MACS’ Chairman, said
“We're honoured that the transformational impact we have on children born without eyes or underdeveloped eyes has been recognised by this award. Above all, the award is testament to the time, energy and love poured into the charity by our family of volunteers, trustees and members.”

We’re really proud of MACS, and hope you are too - MACS would be nothing without its members and volunteers!

MACS Dad Tim Lupton runs his 100th Marathon for MACS

Tim Lupton has been a member of MACS since 2005 and completed his first marathon in April 2010, at the time thinking that it would be his one and only marathon. Seven years later Tim is about to complete his 100th marathon! We caught up with Tim to see how he is feeling ahead of reaching this incredible milestone.

Congratulations Tim, what an achievement! What was the highlight of your road to 100 Marathons?

I think there are 2 best parts of my road to 100 marathons. First is being able to spread the word and awareness of MACS and the MACS conditions, and secondly is to run at the events where there are so many other MACS runners, such as London Marathon, Brighton Marathon, and even the half marathons at Reading and Royal Parks. The feeling of achievement when running these events is multiplied in my eyes as you are also aware that you have raised awareness and much needed funds when collecting the fundraising.

Do you have any favourite moments?

That is a hard question with so many different moments to remember over the years, BUT I think I would have to say my favourite moments boil down mainly to family, so reaching the finish lines of the marathons and seeing the family members there, and now having Ben by my side while I guide him around so many of these runs.

What about a favourite event?

There are in my eyes 2 categories for this.

My favourite event for a specific reason is Virgin Money London Marathon, this is because in 2010 it was my first and ONLY marathon I'd ever do (little did I know), the atmosphere, support, encouragement and it being my first was enough to lock it in as a very special and favourite event for me.

But I have since then discovered the trails, and these throw a whole new light on running as it works your muscles differently, they are more focused on getting the miles done rather than time (time is not my thing). For this reason I think my other favourite events (that are still going) would be Giants Head Marathon, held by White Star Running in the Dorset countryside or Shin Dig in the Shire in Shropshire held by How Hard Can It Be (and to be honest, VERY) both are very demanding courses with lots of inclines and declines hard and uneven under foot, but both are massively rewarding when you finish you know you have done something absolutely amazing!!

What made you start running marathons?

In 2009 I had not run for anything, not even a bus, I was not the right side of 20 stone, and went to London Marathon to support the MACS runners and welcome them back into Horseguards Parade Thanking them. It was while we were there that I saw, that what I thought was the marathon, was miles and miles away from the truth, as I had always thought that to run any distance but especially the longer distances you had to look a certain way (Sebastian Coe or Steve Cram) and unless you were like that you couldn't run. But I came away thinking if some of the people I'd seen completing that day for MACS and other charities could do it, Why couldn't I?... So on the train home I made the whole family laugh as I announced that I was thinking of doing the Marathon the following year! After lots of training and 10k's and half marathons, I was at London and completed it! In the evening, when out at dinner Jenny asked what it was like going past certain landmarks which I had no idea that I had passed!! But said NEVER again was I doing anything like that… BUT in May the ballot opened… Oh I might as well see… In October I found I didn't get in but I had started training, so I applied for a Charity place again.

At which point did you realise you would reach 100 marathons?

To carry on from last question I did London every year since 2010 but in 2013 at the London Expo I became aware of these other marathons advertising, and one in particular caught my eye, Bournemouth. Bournemouth is just along the coast from me, and their marathon was a new one just starting in 2013 and it was in October so London in April keep training (or should I say try to) six months later Bournemouth, it sounded in my mind like a plan so I entered and got in, to cut a long story short running down from Bournemouth AFC to Boscombe (a suburb of Bournemouth) I met these 3 lovely chatty ladies all running together at a slightly slower pace than I was doing but I wanted a quick breather so slowed down and chatted to them as well and found out that the Blue and Yellow club tops they were all wearing, were not a local club but a UK club, and that they all belonged to the UK 100 Marathon Club, I believe I am right in thinking that they had run in over 500 marathon between them. They also told me that there were a lot of other marathons held around the UK in smaller fields than the like of London and Bournemouth in fact groups as small as 50 or so runners, so when MACS decided to celebrate 20 years of MACS in 2014 I decided I'd run 20 events of half marathon or more and ended up running 11 Marathons and 9 half's, that is when I became hooked on taking part, so the following year I did 33 and last year 37 but I have enjoyed every one to a certain degree, if I ever completely stop enjoying them I will just stop.

What are your plans after the 100th marathon is done?

Until I reached about 90 I thought I'd just carry on doing marathons and guiding Ben as he wants. But when in circles of people things rub off on you sometimes they are good things sometimes bad things and sometimes they are MAD things! Well one of the MAD things going around in the circles of runners I mix with is the fact that a number of them are achieving and some are getting quite close to doing 52 marathons in 52 weeks, so this has perched itself on my shoulder and it is sitting there.

So as Giants Head Marathon is number 100 of the present it will also be number 1 of the 52 for the future!!!

Do you have any words of wisdom to someone who secretly hopes to complete a marathon but thinks it’s not for them?

If anyone is considering doing a marathon DO IT!

To the person doing the marathon, it is not about the day you do the actual 26.2 miles it is about the journey, you will struggle with time, with commitment, with a massive number of things BUT no one said running a marathon was easy, if it was everyone would be running them, one of the facts that staggers me when I ever see the numbers at VMLM is that "Less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the world's population will dare to complete the distance of a marathon." That means 99.9% of the world's population will not do what many people who run a marathon, no matter their speed, have done - and that is to run a distance of 26.2 miles.

You will never change a marathon but a marathon will change you!

£1.1 Million funding awarded to tackle child blindness

MACS Achievement Awards 2017

At MACS we think it is important to recognise when people do well. Being blind or visually impaired doesn't mean that you can't achieve positive things in life and we like to share our members' successes, however large or small.

At the MACS Family Weekend we announced our winners and nominees and they have all now received certificates such as the one pictured.

In the category of MACS child aged 0-6 years, we had five fantastic nominees. The winner was a little girl who had overcome her shyness to sing in front of hundreds of people. Her mum thought her bravery was worth an achievement award and we agreed!

In the category of MACS child aged 7-12 years, we had nine nominees all of whom had achieved great things this year. Our winner was someone who needed to have a lot of operations this year and who managed to stay positive and smiling throughout. Her mum was impressed by her determination to work through everything that comes her way and so were we!

In the category of MACS person aged 13+, we had 2 brilliant nominees. The winner was a lady who had taken part in a white-collar boxing match and despite her visual impairment did amazingly well with her training and in the match. She also raised £200 for a local children’s hospice in the process. Her partner thought that she deserved recognition for her hard work and we thought so too.

In the category of MACS sibling, we had 3 nominees all of whom were wonderful a help to their siblings and parents. Our winner was someone who helps her mum care for her younger sister whenever she was needed. She spreads awareness by telling people about her sister’s MACS conditions and always puts her sister’s needs first. Yet somehow she still finds time to do her homework and spend time with her friends – we think that’s an amazing achievement.

Congratulations to all our MACS nominees and winners, you all deserve to feel very proud of yourselves.