Disabled people often don’t access the services that they need to through anxiety and not being able to prepare themselves. This is particularly the case as Covid-19 has changed the way we all interact with essential services. We plan to change all this by creating immersive technology solutions – virtual tours, walk through videos and virtual reality – to help show them what’s it like?
Now that travel restrictions are starting to ease, we plan to take out a crew of film producers to film panorama images and walk-through videos that capture the new and unfolding landscape and access arrangements to health services post lockdown. For example, when GP surgeries reopen, what are the queuing arrangements, what other access restrictions are in place to prevent cross infection, how are the waiting rooms configured, and what will be the new communications procedures? A team of our work experience partners will embed these videos into our app and show our beneficiaries "what’s it like", and get them comfortable with the arrangements before they have to visit. These will break down any fears that have arisen as a result of the pandemic and reassure disabled people that it is safe to access these services once again.
This funding will allow us to develop the app and the video materials which will change as new access arrangements evolve. The app will be hosted in the cloud in our Amazon Web Services platform and will be available to anyone to use to get a better understanding of new access arrangements, and in particular we will use with our beneficiaries to support them out of lock down into what will be a much more accessible health service. Signposting to the app will be through our social media and through websites for the NHS service providers.
We are unique in our approach to developing this service in that we use a group of talented autistic people as part of the development team, so our work is fully user-led. These include people who create the app (under professional supervision), the film producers and editors, and people who subsequently support delivery of this service. This work falls under our social enterprise Inter Activ, that provides high quality work experience for disabled people and comes under the umbrella of the Portsmouth charity, Enable Ability.
The project that we are proposing builds on work carried out by PALS Society and Future Coders CIC who have created this approach to using immersive technology (virtual tours, walk-throughs, and augmented/virtual reality) to help people who live with anxiety access places that they want to. Our work also benefits from collaboration with experts from the University of Portsmouth.
So the basics for our project are all in place, we just need to refine the app to meet our specific needs and then spend the money on creating the content needed to help present the new access arrangements to health services as we emerge from the Covid-19 situation.