Hospice to launch exciting new virtual reality gaming centre in Hartlepool to boost funds hit by Covid

A new virtual reality gaming centre is set to launch soon in Hartlepool in an innovative venture by Alice House Hospice to boost fundraising after being hit hard by the pandemic.

Friday, 2nd April 2021, 12:42 pm

The new business venture called NEVRlabs (North East Virtual Reality Labs) will feature the latest virtual reality gaming technology with all profits going towards funding patient care provided by the hospice.

Alice House chiefs decided they needed to find fresh and innovative ways of raising money after losing an estimated £1.5m last year when Covid restrictions forced the cancellation of all large fundraising events and the temporary closure of its charity shops.

They also wanted to engage with more young people.

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The centre will offer the latest in virtual reality gaming technology.

The new virtual reality centre, in Park Road, Hartlepool, is due to be ready for business later this spring.

Alice House chief executive Tracy Woodall said: “After deciding to provide virtual reality experiences and therapies for our patients to combat

isolation during the first lockdown it became clear that there was so much potential to use gaming as a long term fundraising strategy.

"We are very excited at this opportunity; hospices are under significant financial pressure and we have to be able to adapt in order to survive.

Alice House CEO Tracy Woodall

"NEVRlabs will help to strengthen our hospice over time and secure new generations of fundraisers through having fun via gaming.”

As well as providing a fun experience for customers of all ages, NEVRlabs will also use gaming and virtual reality to support mental and physical health and social inclusion through tech clubs and local esports (competitive video gaming) team development.

The hospice has entered into a partnership with gaming business Revolution Esports to become one of five exclusive gaming hubs throughout the UK and the only venue in the North East to recruit and nurture esports talent.

NEVRlabs will work with Revolution to host high level esports tournaments as well as providing opportunities for young people through education and training in gaming and technology.

Tracy added: “It is a growing market and the Revolution partnership enables us to provide the best equipment and experiences for local young people.

"We hope to attract talent from across the North East and with the support of Adam Johnson from Revolution we can offer new and unique opportunities for future generations in our region.”

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