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Enabling easy access to the South West's beauty spots

National Lottery Award money used for new Virtual Heritage Project

Date Posted: 18 March 2019

National Lottery Award money used for exciting new ‘Virtual Heritage Project’

After winning £5,000 in prize money from the National Lottery Awards in September 2018, the Heritage Ability (HA) team are planning to use the money to fund an exciting new project. The project aims to help partner heritage sites to develop and deliver 360º images and films to enhance the accessibility of their sites.

The decision comes after several months of discussions with our panel of volunteers (with lived experience of disability), to decide on a good way to spend the prize money.

The £5,000 prize money will be used to purchase a 360º camera and two virtual reality headsets, as well as providing training for the HA team. This is all being delivered in collaboration with Soundview Media, a local firm who specialise in the creation of 360º virtual reality footage.

The new 360º footage can help provide virtual access to areas that may not be made physically accessible, such as mines or caves. It can also be used to provide a more comfortable environment for autistic people or people with learning difficulties to be more involved in the heritage of the site.

The Virtual Heritage project will allow partner heritage sites to be trained in the use of the equipment and use it to create their own exciting virtual tours. 

Gareth Allen, Managing Director of Soundview Media stated: “It’s fantastic to be able to use this state of the art immersive technology to enable virtual access for people with reduced mobility and other disabilities.

“In collaboration with the Heritage Ability team, we’re combining this tech and our expertise in film-making to “virtually” bash down existing physical barriers. In doing so, we hope to help improve visitor experiences to some of the partner heritage sites.”  

Heritage Ability is the creation of Living Options Devon, a local user-led charity, where all of their initiatives are developed or supported by people who have a first-hand understanding of the challenges faced by disabled and Deaf people.

Diana Crump, CEO of Living Options Devon stated: “The new Virtual Heritage Project is an incredible development for us, allowing Heritage Ability to add another fantastic product to our tool kit to help make more sites accessible today and into the future.”