Children’s hospice charity Lifelites gets funding boost from UK video gaming industry to fund Virtual Reality project

Virtual Reality project in children’s hospices to go ahead thanks to funding boost

Chloe Green | 27th Sep 17

Lifelites, the charity which donates specialist technology to children in hospices across the British Isles, has been awarded funding of nearly £70,000 by GamesAid, the charity of the UK games industry, which it will use to fund its new Virtual Reality project in children’s hospices.

Every year GamesAid and members of the UK video games industry raise hundreds of thousands of pounds which they then distribute to a select number of charities. In order to decide who gets a share of the money, employees of the gaming industry vote for their favourite charity from a shortlist. This year the charity raised an incredible £557,839, meaning Lifelites was awarded £69,729.

Chief Executive of Lifelites Simone Enefer-Doy said: “We were absolutely blown away to receive such an incredibly generous contribution from GamesAid yet again. With their support over the past six years we’ve been able to do things we could never have dreamed of. We’ve been able to change the lives of terminally ill and disabled children with this technology, enabling them to do things they never thought possible, and now we are looking at the next big thing in personal technology – Virtual Reality.”

Lifelites is hoping to use the money from GamesAid to expand its newest project – Virtual Reality (VR). The charity has trialled VR experiences at Jacksplace Hospice for young people in Winchester, and it has proved extremely popular. This technology has incredible potential to have an impact on the lives of young people with disabilities. It enables them to travel to places they never thought they’d go, and can immerse them in experiences they might never have had otherwise, such as riding a rollercoaster, swimming with dolphins or even flying a spaceship. Thanks to Lifelites, it can all be done within the safety of the hospice walls and the charity would now like to take it to young people in other hospices across the British Isles.

One of the young people who has been able to use the VR at Jacksplace is Daniel. Daniel loves gaming and used to play a lot on his Xbox. However, due to the degenerative nature of his condition, he has lost mobility in his hands and arms and can no longer hold the controller. The VR equipment has made it possible for him to continue doing what he loves, and helps him to socialise and spend time with other young people at the hospice.

Claire Floyd, Play Specialist at Jacksplace said: “Daniel is very quiet, but the VR helps him socialise with some of our other young people. It brings them together and they’re able to meet other people who have the same problems they do, but they can just forget about that and be young people playing games. Whenever we schedule time on the VR at one of our day services, we get so many people coming in – they love it, and we’re so grateful to Lifelites and GamesAid for making it possible.”

Over the past 16 years, Lifelites has donated equipment to children and young people in every children’s hospice in the British Isles. Every four years, each hospice receives a donation of cutting edge assistive technology, technical maintenance and support, and staff training worth £50,000.