Please help save Virtual Reality Therapies!
A unique social enterprise dedicated to utilising virtual reality (VR) and immersive tech for children with special needs and adults with disabilities.
We take those too poorly to walk swimming with dolphins, children undergoing chemotherapy flying through space, people with dementia down memory lane and so much more. The experiences and benefits are truly endless.
We are raising money to save our multisensory centre, featuring a world-first combination of hydrotherapy and underwater VR so you feel like you are truly swimming with dolphins!
Why are we raising money?
To help save the worlds first VR hydrotherapy centre (along with other immersive VR environments) based in Northampton, so everyone can experience the magic of swimming with dolphins!
Like everyone we were hit hard by Covid-19, but the timing couldn’t have been worse for VR therapies. After securing financing, premises, equipment and renovating the centre we were locked down! Staff couldn't work and we couldn’t open.
With no income, bills and debts started to pile up. From the landlord to suppliers, utilities and providers, banks and funders, they all wanted payment. Nearly 2 years of bills and debt built up while we were locked down.
We weren’t eligible for government support as we hadn’t even opened yet and banks refused to give us a loan as we couldn’t yet demonstrate "profitability".
Now we have no money left to open. We will no longer be able to help people with VR therapy and very soon we'll be forced to go bankrupt.
We never had a chance to open the doors or even fill the pools.
However, we still have a chance - with your help!
Our vision is to make VR therapy accessible to all!
The latest medical and therapeutic advances in technology should be available to the very people it is designed for – not just those already in the hospital, the rich or physically able. It should be available to those who would benefit most yet currently are the least likely to access it.
We want to tick off those bucket lists, break those boundaries and breeze through barriers!
At VR Therapies everything is designed in mind for children with special needs and people with disabilities, we are fully accessible and inclusive. But please remember...
It's for the community and we want you all to come and have a go!
Swimming with dolphins is on most people’s bucket lists, a truly uplifting and serotonin-boosting therapy. VR brings this experience which most people will never access, with all the benefits – a drug-free medicine with no side effects for you or the dolphin!
VR provides immersive environments which can be similar to the real world or imaginary, creating an experience that is not possible in ordinary physical reality. The environment can be anything from the middle of the ocean to different galaxies or worlds. By providing a range of immersive and multisensory experiences, we create innovative combinations of physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and more.
With specialist equipment designed in-house, people will be able to access experiences they never dreamed were possible. Our centre will provide a range of multisensory and immersive experiences not just limited to the water; people can race around Silverstone in wheelchair adapted driving seats (with our fans you can even feel the wind in your hair!), fly through space and walk on the moon, or simply relax on their own private beach and escape the real world.
Our story – by Rebecca Gill (founder)
I'm a learning disabilities nurse and in 2018 I left my job to set up VR therapies, a new social enterprise like no other. I was angry at the cuts to local services available for even basic therapies such as hydrotherapy and physio - yet inspired by the amazing advances in technology and therapies.
After proving the many benefits, I was able to get a business loan to finally open our dream centre.
It was filled with rubbish and needed a lot of work though - but we had a fantastic team of staff and volunteers to make it possible.
It wasn't easy and it definitely wasn't cheap, but slowly, the centre came to life.
We invited local people to come and have a go. They did their physiotherapy using VR and had fun at the same time!
Our multisensory centre was nearly ready to open at last…
When tragically Covid-19 hit.
To survive bankruptcy and get VR therapies opening, we desperately need you to pledge your kind support.
There are rewards available from VR headsets to sessions at our centre.
Please, please help us to finally open our centre. It will mean we could bring VR therapy to so many people who would never get the opportunity to experience things that would be closed off to them. Help us make the impossible virtually possible!
Read on to learn a more detailed explanation about what we do and why - or just click the donate button now.
VR therapies is a social enterprise dedicated to children with special needs and adults with disabilities. We take those too poorly to walk swimming with dolphins, children undergoing chemotherapy to explore space, and people with dementia down memory lane. From reducing chronic pain and alleviating anxiety, to travelling the world and ticking off bucket lists... the experiences and benefits are endless.
People breathe easier, they feel less pain and they smile more too!
Here are just some of our themes available...
Hydrotherapy – swim with dolphins with underwater VR
On many people’s bucket lists and now available to everyone is this profoundly beautiful and healing experience. A wealth of studies has shown the benefits of hydrotherapy as well as dolphin-assisted therapy, but the benefits have never been combined… till now. We haven’t stopped there though – the full room is a multisensory and magical experience. For those who do not like things covering their face (such as sensory processing disorders), you can still lie back and watch dolphins swim around you!
Used in over 200 hospitals and healthcare units, medical and therapeutic VR has shown amazing results for a range of conditions including:
- Pain reduction
- Learning disabilities and Autism
- Children with Heart Disease and Anxiety in Hospitals
- Burn victims undergoing painful dressing changes
There are so many uses and benefits already, it’s time to bring this to the community.
Making the inaccessible, accessible
With specialist equipment and aids, people of all abilities will be able to benefit from VR therapies. We can offer one to one sessions tailored to your own specific needs.
From our huge library we will be sure to find something that truly speaks to you and your interests. Whether you’re here to get moving and have fun, or sit back and relax, your session will be sure to leave you smiling. You can swap experiences at any point during your session time, so you’ll always find something immersive and fun suited to your own personal tastes. Our equipment is fully accessible to people with disabilities e.g., controller hand grips to provide additional support when holding the controllers, lens spacers/protectors for if glasses are necessary and a comfortable seat if required for a seated experience.
Meet the team
Rebecca Gill, Director & Founder. Registered Nurse and award-winning Social Entrepreneur in the UK, with over 12 years’ experience within learning disabilities, brain injury rehabilitation, mental health issues and other neurological conditions. Through collaborating with a diverse range of healthcare professionals from neuroscience to physiotherapy, to local universities and the NHS, Rebecca has created innovative therapies and packages, underwater VR scenes for aquatic rehabilitation and is currently leading the way for accessible VR within the local community. Featured on the BBC, her awards include the Great British Entrepreneur Award for Inspirational Spirit, the Accessible Europe Award with ITU & the United Nations for Cognitive & Intellectual Disabilities, as well as a range of other awards for Innovation, Tech for Good and more. In 2020 she was invited to speak at the United Nations about the amazing work of VR therapies.
Matthew Fishlock, Co-Director. Electrical engineer and VR enthusiast, Matthew joined the team in 2020. With experience in both healthcare technology and virtual reality gaming, he is helping to forge the next generation of medical XR. Through his expertise and insight, Matt has developed truly accessible technology for the local community, bridging the gap for children with special needs and adults with disabilities. A key figure in the future of therapeutic VR, Matt is one to watch!
Roslyn Stone, Team Lead. Expert in the special needs sector for almost 30 years in various roles and as a teacher for the last 17 years. Inspired by her time in a residential specialist college, Ros achieved her Cert Ed and training as a teacher, specialised in working with young adults with learning disabilities and communication problems. Ros enjoyed teaching various subjects and life skills and during this time trained to become a Social and Therapeutic horticultural therapist. Her career has enabled her to work with a range of young people and adults with autism, mental health issues, low self-esteem, anxiety and more. Ros is an amazing passionate woman with a wealth of experience, who brings the children to the heart of what we do.
"Oh it's just wonderful, absolutely wonderful. I thought I would never be able to do these things again, but look at me now. One day I'm walking around New York and the next I'm swimming with dolphins! Thank you so much."
Service User, Age UK
Watch a video about our community work with Age UK
"Myself and my 21 year old daughter who has special needs autism learning disability and chromosome deletion, spent the morning at the VR therapy centre. What an absolutely lovely experience. Friendly staff willing to take time and the level of support and understanding was outstanding. My daughter enjoyed the experience immensely and engaged with Ros. She really loved the driving VR experience. Thank you for a lovely afternoon."
Local mother, Northamptonshire
Watch a video about us by OpenReach
Or you can watch this video about our founder, Rebecca Gill
Please check out our website for more information and be sure to follow us on social media.