Disabled people step into a whole new world thanks to virtual reality

The Spa Lodge Charity Steward Doug Mills watches Disability Action Yorkshire customer Kayleigh Atkinson experiencing the new virtual reality headset, funded by the Freemasons

Disabled people supported by a Harrogate charity will now be able to step into a whole new world.

In a bid to equip customers for independent living, Disability Action Yorkshire is turning to virtual reality to help train and prepare them for a host of everyday life experiences, including supermarket shopping and travelling by public transport.

Freemasons from the town’s The Spa Lodge secured a grant of £2,000, which has been used for the charity’s Virtual Independence Project to purchase a Garmin spherical camera, Oculus Go virtual reality headset and a new laptop computer to edit the recorded footage.

Disability Action Yorkshire Chief Executive Jackie Snape said: “Thanks to The Spa Lodge nominating us for this generous grant, our training sessions for customers will be totally revolutionised.

“Whilst many are keen to live as independently as possible, the reality is that some people have had little or no experience of everyday life. Our Virtual Independence Project will change all that.

“Our customers will be able to experience what it is like to travel on a bus independently, travel around a busy shopping centre or supermarket, or prepare and cook a simple meal.

“The aim is that once people have gained confidence in a virtual setting they will then go to try new experiences in daily life.”

Doug Mills, The Spa Lodge Charity Steward, said: “Charity is one of the three grand principles of Freemasonry, and I’m delighted that we have been able to support Disability Action Yorkshire in kick-starting their Virtual Independence Project.

“With the camera, the charity will now be able to develop a series of 360-degree videos, which will help train and prepare customers keen to explore new experiences.”


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