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Byron Shire
May 17, 2021

House with No Steps gets real funding for virtual reality

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Kim Parish, Garth Perry, Lisa Vineburg, Kathleen Martin and Felicity Nelson with the new VR gear. Photo supplied.
Kim Parish, Garth Perry, Lisa Vineburg, Kathleen Martin and Felicity Nelson with the new VR gear. Photo supplied.

Disability services provider House with No Steps has been awarded funding to develop an innovative Virtual Reality-based learning tool for disability support workers.

House with No Steps (HWNS) has been awarded $200,000 funding from the National Disability Services (NDS) Innovative Workforce Fund to develop prototype Virtual Reality (VR) learning tools for disability support workers.

Kim Parish, Lisa Vineburg, and Felicity Nelson. Photo supplied.
Kim Parish, Lisa Vineburg, and Felicity Nelson. Photo supplied.

As a recipient of the Showcase Project, House with No Steps will prototype the VR learning tools in a 12-month project, in partnership with the Centre for Social Impact.

Felicity Nelson, HWNS Strategic Innovation Lead says that the objective of the project is to learn about how virtual reality (VR) technology can enhance the skill building capacity of the support workers at HWNS, says  in terms of learning about work practices and services in supporting customers living with physical and intellectual disabilities.

‘What VR provides is a simulated interactive safe learning environment which can replicate the real world’, says Ms Nelson. ‘Where VR technology is already being effectively used is in emergency services, the military, mining and construction, as it allows you to replicate a complex situation, and practice with other people and equipment in a safe version of that work environment.

‘For this project we want to learn about how VR could assist our support workers to practice and learn – for example, about a situation in which a customer may have fallen, and how the support worker needs to lift the person carefully.’

Strategic Innovation Lead at HWNS Angela Meyer is very excited about the prospect of VR. ‘This is a fantastic opportunity for House with No Steps, along with its support workers and customers, to explore how a new technology like virtual reality can enhance learning about risk in a disability supported setting’, she says. 

‘Virtual experiences offer us a chance to practice our responses to risk-related events in a safe way.

This award from the NDS Innovative Workforce Fund is an honour to receive and testament to House with No Steps’ commitment to innovation to help people with disability live a great life’.

Lisa, Garth and Kathleen try the new VR gear on for size and sight. Photo Supplied.
Lisa, Garth and Kathleen try the VR gear on for size and sight. Photo Supplied.




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