A world-class virtual reality social enterprise that helps people with disabilities cope with bankruptcy after COVID-19 prevented it from opening.
Rebecca Gill, a nurse with learning disabilities in Northampton, left her nursing job to set up VR Therapies after being frustrated by cuts to local services.
Inspired by the amazing advances of RV as a therapy tool, I wanted to make the technology available to those who benefited most from it, but with less chance of accessing it.
After securing funding and re-equipping the center, it was to open in 2020, then COVID-19 was successful.
“Like many, we fought for almost two years, losing all avenues of income. Invoices and debts were accumulated, without any way to generate finance “, he wrote in an email to BusinessCloud.
“Banks turned down loans and we were not eligible for government grants as we could not demonstrate‘ profitability ’before closing because we didn’t even have a chance to open the doors.
“Now we are facing bankruptcy and our last hope is one crowdfunding campaign“.
The social enterprise, also based in Northampton, claims to be the first in the world to combine hydrotherapy with underwater VR, allowing everyone to experience swimming with dolphins. The center was to be open to everyone, but dedicated to children and people with disabilities.
A series of other immersive and multisensory experiences allow children undergoing chemotherapy to fly through space; running on Silverstone in wheelchair-adapted driving seats; people with dementia to take a trip down the memory lane; and those who are at home to experience African safaris.
“Traditional therapies are really difficult to access, despite the benefits. With physiotherapy, there is a very long waiting list, you have to go private and it is expensive, so most people can’t afford it, ”added Gill.
“But here we can combine physiotherapy with immersive experiences, allowing the community to take control of their health in a fun way.”
The health benefits of these experiences include the reduction of chronic pain and the relief of anxiety. “People smile more, breathe more easily and feel less pain,” notes Gill, who was invited to speak at the United Nations last year.
“My training is learning disabilities,” he adds. “All my work has been learning disabilities, brain injuries, autism and everything neurological. Everything is designed for people with disabilities and of all ages and abilities, but everyone is welcome. It’s for the community and I want everyone to come and try it. “
When there are only two months left before they face bankruptcy and all staff are redundant, they hope the local community will help them save them.
The campaign, which has just been launched, has already reached £ 1,500, but is set to reach £ 65,000 in the next 24 days. This would cover the salaries of three VR therapists, rent the center and provide specialized equipment for children with special needs.
The donations made will be rewarded with chances of winning a large number of products, from virtual reality headphones to vouchers for the sessions at the center. “And a good dose of good karma,” Gill adds.
There are also sponsorship offers available for businesses and free advertising through the company’s “Hall of Fame”.
“We will no longer be able to help people with virtual reality therapy and very soon we will be forced to go bankrupt. We never had a chance to open the doors or even fill the pools, ”says Gill.
You can donate to help save virtual reality therapies here.