Leonard Cheshire is a charity supporting individuals to live, learn and work as independently as they choose, whatever their ability. They work across the UK, delivering care services and programmes. They have volunteering opportunities and host events. They also deliver programmes internationally around work, education and youth advocacy.
In August 2019, The Hospital Saturday Fund provided Leonard Cheshire Cymru with a grant for £9,723.78 towards Virtual Reality headsets. They’ve kindly updated us on how the grant was used:
Update from Leonard Cheshire
Whilst the Coronavirus pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges, we have continued to support disabled people in Wales through innovative ways using inclusive and accessible technology.
This grant enabled us to purchase 8 Virtual Reality (VR) headsets and four 360 cameras, to create our own content of films. The headsets ‘live’ at the Social Bean café in the heart of Swansea, our unique social enterprise community café which offers key opportunities for disabled people to gain meaningful employment and work experience. The VR headsets have been available to Leonard Cheshire community programmes, services and Digital Centre partners, including STARS (Bridgend) and Mencap (Llangefni).
We have taken the headsets to Ty Cwm and Dan y Bryn, our specialist social care services in Camarthen and Cardiff. In total, 40 residents have enjoyed the immersive experiences that the headsets offer, as well as several members of staff.
Residents really enjoy trying out new activities with the headsets, often acting out appropriate actions as well. Residents have been paddle-boarding, swimming, scuba diving, kite surfing and skiing. After discussing with residents, we are working on creating videos of individual’s hometowns for them to walk around, which will be particularly beneficial for residents who have been shielding since March, and have had limited opportunities to get out into their communities.
I really loved the sky diving scenario. This was because I’ve never been skydiving before and I found it really thrilling
I liked it because they’re cool and make you feel like you’re really there.
COVID-19 Adapted Delivery
Due to hygiene reasons, the shared use of VR headsets is not possible at the moment and so all virtual delivery has been on hold since March to ensure the safety of our community. We have instead purchased additional 360 cameras and accessories to create new content for when delivery is possible again. Working with a participant from our Changing Futures employment programme, we are recording, editing, and creating a new library of videos that our community have told us they want, including:
- Virtual tours of our Welsh services
- Customer and staff POV at the Social Bean Coffee shop – these will support individuals who want to train as a Barista
- Mindfulness based videos
- Transport training
To find out more about Leonard Cheshire, please visit their website: