Accessible activities at Hill House

Dave Hursthouse

As we come to the end of 2020, Dave Hursthouse, Assistive Technology Project Manager, reflects on the impact of accessible activities at Hill House over the last year.

I’m leading on an exciting project at Hill House which is running over three years. Our aim is to introduce residents and staff to brand new technology that will transform the care experience. And offering more accessible activities and events is a vital part of this!

Using technology to stay connected

It’s been an unexpected year, to say the least. A year that has shown how important it is for people to feel connected. And the accessible activities enjoyed by the people we support at Hill House are a perfect example of how technology can really bring people together.

With lockdown rules in place, we had to find new ways of helping residents connect to their families. We also had to find new ways to interact with the local community and even residents at some of our other services. Assistive technology helped us do that.

We’ve had to adapt against the backdrop of coronavirus, taking our activities virtual. But thanks to the technology we’ve been using, residents have been able to take part in some great events.

Virtual tour of Arley Hall

In September we were able to transport the grounds of Arley Hall right to Hill House. Usually, our residents would take an annual trip to Arley Hall to enjoy the gardens. But coronavirus restrictions meant this wasn’t possible. Luckily, through the use of some virtual reality headsets, our residents were still able to take a tour through the grounds.

We coupled the virtual tour with a private tea party. Our residents enjoyed a personal video tour of the gardens led by TV gardener, Mark Lane and Lord and Lady Ashbrook, who own Arley Hall. We were able to show the tour using our Clevertouch interactive display unit. Residents even had the opportunity to ask Mark and Lord and Lady Ashbrook questions about the garden via a Zoom call, especially for the occasion.

It was fantastic to see everyone taking in the sights through the VR headsets and engaging in the Q&A session. It was clear to see how everyone is gradually getting more used to the technology. The day really did put a smile on everyone’s faces.

Christmas concert

We were also lucky to end the year with another virtual event! After sharing information about the project on a local Sandbach site, the local Scout group reached out to see how they could get involved at Hill House. They were keen to help with social inclusion opportunities. So a virtual Christmas concert seemed like the perfect opportunity!

The local Explorer Scout Unit, Shipton ESU and our residents well and truly brought the holiday spirit to Hill House. Joining together through video conference, we all enjoyed a group sing-a-long of Christmas classics. But the real highlight of the evening was seeing the virtual poem that Shipton ESU had put together.

Both the Scouts and residents of Hill House had pre-recorded lines to camera from the classic poem, ‘A Visit from St Nicholas’. And we were able to enjoy the full performance on our Clever Touch screen. It was another fantastic evening that really showed how technology can bring us together, even when we have to stay apart.

We’re looking forward to bringing more brilliant virtual events to Hill House in 2021!