Get involved with virtual reality gaming sessions

The West Cheshire Autism Hub has teamed up with Inclusive Community Development (ICD) so autistic adults can take part in virtual reality (VR) gaming sessions, have plenty of fun and gain endless benefits.

VR is a technology that allows you to experience games and activities as if you were really there. You wear a headset and hand controllers that allow you to interact in a virtual environment. Sometimes, the environment looks like real life and, sometimes, it’s like being in a computer game. When you move your head and hands, they move in the game or activity so you can move around, pick things up, play games, dodge, climb and even fly.

Personalised support is available from a coach skilled and experienced working with autistic adults. It’s an opportunity for people to progress in a number of different ways rather than simply taking part in activities as VR experiences lend themselves to learning in a safe and structured way.

The VR gaming sessions are being run at the West Cheshire Autism Hub, which is based at The Bluecoat in Chester. The relevant COVID-19 protocols will be in place to make sure it’s a safe environment for everyone involved, including wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and ICD staff having lateral flow COVID-19 tests the day before each session.

Karen McGuinness, Strategy Manager at the West Cheshire Autism Hub, said: “We can’t wait to work with ICD and deliver these brilliant sessions for the autistic adults we support at the Autism Hub.

“We’ve been waiting patiently to welcome people to our base at The Bluecoat because of the COVID-19 pandemic and we’re delighted VR gaming sessions will be one of the first services we have on offer in person.

“While we’ve no doubt people will have plenty of fun, these sessions will also provide some great outcomes for autistic adults and encourage them to become more independent.”

Cindy Cliffe, Director of Inclusive Community Development, added: “We’re looking forward to sharing the fun, but we also want to help develop skills and interests.

“We’re also looking for volunteers to help so, if you or someone you know wants to get up close and personal with the latest and best VR equipment while supporting adults to access this amazing technology, please do get in touch.”

How you can get involved

Autistic adults can access VR gaming sessions completely free from 1.30pm to 4.30pm on a Thursday afternoon for three consecutive weeks. This is being trialled from Thursday 20 May for six months, meaning many people will be able to take advantage of the sessions during this period. Once you’ve attended your free sessions, you can access further three-hour sessions for £40.

There are a limited number of spaces each week so, if you’d like to make a referral, please complete the form and email it to: karen.mcguinness@westcheshireautismhub.co.uk.

For more information about the West Cheshire Autism Hub and the range of support offered to autistic adults, visit: westcheshireautismhub.co.uk.

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