Above: Prime Minister David Cameron racing (& losing BADLY to) disabled gamer Shahzad Hossain
The Accessible Video Games Centre, created by video games charity SpecialEffect, develops bespoke video gaming equipment for people with disabilities and serious illnesses, enhancing people’s lives by helping them to enjoy and experience video games and leisure technology.
Thursday 10th March 2011 – 2.00pm: Today Prime Minister David Cameron was in his constituency of Witney, West Oxfordshire with SpecialEffect Patron Matt Hampson to open the UK’s first fully accessible Video Games Visitor Centre. The Centre is the first of its kind and has been created by video games charity SpecialEffect. SpecialEffect strive to enhance people’s lives by helping them access video games and leisure technology. The centre will be a central hub for SpecialEffect to develop accessible video games for people in the local area and across the UK.
David Cameron, MP for Witney said: “The work of SpecialEffect brings together three things that I am passionate about: helping those with disabilities, the innovative use of technology and corporate social responsibility. I began supporting SpecialEffect when I attended their launch in 2008 and I’ve been continually impressed with their commitment to helping disabled people. This new centre will enhance the quality of life for some of the most severely disabled people across the UK and I will continue to support SpecialEffect as their local MP. It’s also good to see SpecialEffect working so closely with the UK’s video games industry – it’s a great example of how even a small input from business can help support the fantastic work that SpecialEffect do.”
Matt Hampson, Patron of SpecialEffect said: “Following my rugby injury, I was totally paralysed. SpecialEffect’s support adapted a computer that I could operate just by moving my head. This not only had a massive positive impact on my leisure time but I also believe it helped to build up my neck muscles, too. Like me, many other people with disabilities are interested to find out about the benefits of games and leisure technology for socialization, rehabilitation and, of course, fun. Now they drop into a friendly centre and can see what it can do for them.”
Dr Mick Donegan, SpecialEffect’s Director, said, “The SpecialEffect Charity already helps a wide range of people with disabilities to discover how to use specialist technology through its website, roadshows, working with hospitals and home visits. The only thing missing was a central hub for people to visit. The new centre offers them the opportunity to arrange to try out a range of cutting edge games and leisure software and hardware, with the advice and support of specialist professionals.”
Andy Payne, Chairman of GamesAid and Chairman of UKIE (The UK Association for Interactive Entertainment), said: “Working with video games charity GamesAid, SpecialEffect have reached out to the video games industry and generated a huge amount of interest and support. Their use of the latest technology and commitment to developing bespoke equipment allows disabled people of all ages to interact with their peers on a completely level playing field, via the medium of video games. The establishment of the UK’s first Accessible Video Games Centre is a real achievement and we look forward to working closely with Special Effect on this exciting project. The video games industry often wrongly gets a bad rap. However, video games can have many positive social, cultural and health benefits and the work of SpecialEffect shows just a small part of the good work the video games industry does to improve people’s lives. The centre is just the beginning and with further advancements in technology, the future of video games for people with disabilities is an incredibly exciting field to be involved with. SpecialEffect have the games industry’s full support and we look forward to continuing to work closely with them going into the future.”
SpecialEffect, which runs GameBase, is a charity dedicated to helping ALL young people with disabilities to enjoy computer games. For these children, the majority of computer games are simply too quick or too difficult to play, and SpecialEffect can help them and their parents to find out which games they CAN play, and how to adapt those games that they can't.
GamesAid is a UK based video games industry charity. It distributes funds to a diverse range of charities, a means of giving something back to the UK on behalf of the industry. GamesAid acts as a broker of charitable activity on behalf of the industry, taking advice from all sectors. GamesAid aims to help charities which focus on children and young people. It is a non trading body.