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VR experience brings Arley Hall tea party to care home residents

Pure AV's recent installation at Leonard Cheshire care home Hill House enabled disabled residents to enjoy their annual trip to Arley Hall through VR applications

The team at Pure AV has been actively taking AV into the community in recent weeks, helping to make a difference to local organisations such as the Lancashire Fire Service and Preston Air Cadets with generous donations of AV displays and projectors.

The most recent example has been the integrator’s work with the Leonard Cheshire care home at Hill House in Sandbach, Cheshire, where it installed AV and VR technology to ensure that the residents’ annual trip to Arley Hall could go ahead in virtual form.

Hill House is a Leonard Cheshire care home for adults with physical disabilities that has a focus on building confidence through volunteering and through access to digital technology such as computers and adapted IT equipment. In recent years, residents have enjoyed an annual trip to Arley Hall to enjoy the gardens and botanical delights as well as a tea party hosted by the hall’s owners, Lord and Lady Ashbrook.

Pure AV’s installation included a new Clevertouch interactive display unit and virtual reality headsets that enabled the 2020 iteration of the trip to go ahead in virtual form. The tea party took place on 30th September where the 24 residents were treated to the debut of a personal video tour of the gardens led by Lord and Lady Ashbrook, following which residents were also able to take in 360° panoramic views of the gardens using virtual reality headsets.

Lord Ashbrook said, “I have long had a relationship with Hill House, its residents and staff. For many years, my wife Zoe and I have much enjoyed hosting an annual tea party for them at Arley, as well as showing them around the garden. I know that disabled people can benefit greatly from horticulture, so it is a particular pleasure this year when an actual visit has not been possible, to have been able to take part in this film. I hope it will be greatly enjoyed by the residents and others who see it.”

TV gardener and Leonard Cheshire ambassador Mark Lane was part of the occasion and is a passionate advocate for inclusive gardening and designs. “Lockdown has meant that many of us have not been able to visit gardens or spend time outside together and enjoy being surrounded by nature and flowers,” he said. “We were so pleased to be able to put together this very special film to bring the beautiful gardens of Arley Hall to the residents at Hill House.”

Hill House is home to 24 residents with a range of disabilities and communication needs. The equipment used during the virtual tea party is part of a broader installation carried out by Pure AV at the home to give residents access to new experiences through new technology.

“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been busy introducing new devices and activities to tackle loneliness, keep our residents connected and offer access to brand new experiences, all within the four walls of Hill House,” said David Hursthouse, assistive technology project manager.

“The Arley Hall event is a great example of what can be achieved due to the technology that Pure AV has helped us to implement. Assistive technology really offers a wide range of opportunities for disabled people and has been instrumental in improving the social well being of our residents during a very testing time.”

Pure AV’s other recent community efforts have benefitted the Preston Air Cadets and Lancashire Fire Service…