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Galloway’s launches Charles Bonnet peer support group for people who experience hallucinations

A vision of what Marjorie may see: Blue and pink squares
A vision of what Marjorie may see: Blue and pink squares

When seeing lucid hallucinations, Marjorie Markham says she feels better knowing she can talk to others who are going through the same thing.

The 82-year-old attends a Charles Bonnet Syndrome peer support group recently launched by sight loss charity Galloway’s. The group, supported by Esme’s Friends, enables people across Lancashire and Sefton who have the eye condition to meet over the telephone through the Galloway’s Talking Together service.

Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS) causes people to experience visual hallucinations, which can range from simple shapes and dots of colours, patterns and straight lines, to detailed pictures of people, animals and insects. The condition is often developed from pre-existing sight loss, such as age related macular degeneration or cataracts. Although it is fairly common, CBS is not well known, but has recently been highlighted in ITV soap Coronation Street.

Marjorie is sat on a chair smiling. She wears glasses, a teal cardigan and a matching top
Marjorie Markham

Marjorie, of Torrisholme, who first started having hallucinations last September, said: “Galloway’s is a wonderful organisation and I am very grateful for its support. As I listen in on the Charles Bonnet peer support group on my telephone, it is nice to chat to people experiencing the same things as me. I don’t see what some other people with CBS see, as that can be horrendous, but it is getting worse. I see coloured bubbles coming down and squares which are mostly blue with pink in the middle. I just keep doing what I have learnt from the group - to clap my hands and move my head, so hopefully it won’t be as bad.”

This work has been made possible thanks to funding from a variety of sources, including a grant of £120,330 from The Julia and Hans Rausing Trust’s Charitable Survival Fund and £20,009 from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.

Pam Whitaker, a sight loss advisor at Galloway’s has been leading the CBS peer support groups.

She said: “We are really pleased to be able to provide peer support for people with Charles Bonnet Syndrome. Some people never talked about it before, so they have found it really helpful joining this safe environment where others understand. They have been able to discuss different techniques they use when they are having hallucinations and there have also been some great friendships forming within the group.

“We are very grateful for the support we have been given from all our funders.”

The CBS peer support group is delivered via telephone through the Galloway's Talking Together programme on the third Tuesday of the month at 11am.

For more information, email or call 01772 744 148.


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