28 February 2024

Stars Appeal virtual reality kit transports children in Salisbury Hospital to magical worlds

Children in hospital can be transported into space and even go on safari with a new virtual reality headset funded by the Stars Appeal, Salisbury Hospital’s Charity.

The specialist virtual reality (VR) therapy kit, which cost £6,000, is helping children on Sarum Children’s Ward at Salisbury Hospital to feel calmer and make their time in hospital more fun.

The headset has an array of virtual reality experiences creating life-like three dimensional worlds for children to explore including expeditions into space, animal and dinosaur safaris and relaxing trips to the beach, as well as games.  

Seven-year-old Khloe Mann, from Durrington, was able to get up close to her favourite animals during an African safari thanks to the specialist VR kit when she was on the children’s ward at the end of last year.

Image: Spencer Mulholland

She said: “The VR headset was really good. There were lots of different kinds of animals to see. It was really exciting; my favourite animals were the lions. It made me feel calm and relaxed.”

Her dad Ryan added: “It’s nice to break up their time up and it definitely makes children’s stays in hospital easier.”

Arya Smith, aged nine, from Wilton, tried out the games on the VR headset when she was in hospital. She said the games were “cool” adding: “It’s fun playing the games.”

Image: Spencer Mulholland

Her mum Lorna said: “It’s great to have something like this, which can be taken to their bedside. It gives them something to keep their minds busy while they are in hospital. Thank you very much to all the Stars Appeal supporters for making Arya’s stay more pleasant.”

The specialist therapy equipment is also a great distraction for children when they are being treated and having procedures like blood tests.

As Sarum Ward’s Play Specialist Natasha Long explains: “The virtual reality therapy kit has made such a massive difference to children on Sarum Ward. It is a brilliant distraction for the children especially when they are being treated and having procedures like blood tests which, in some instances, we would have struggled to get without the therapy headset.

It has a calming effect and immerses the children into a different world. Thank you to Stars Appeal supporters for giving us the opportunity to make the children’s time in hospital less scary and more fun and enjoyable.”

This is just one of the ways Stars Appeal supporters’ generous donations and fundraising are making a difference to children in the Hospital. The Stars Appeal also provide enhancements to the ward, a parents’ flat and pulldown beds so parents can stay by their child’s bedside, a dedicated play assistant, and multi-sensory toys.

Find out more about projects supporting Sarum Children’s Ward on our website https://starsappeal.org/our-work/sarum-childrens-ward/

Feature Image: Simon Ward

Written by
Andy Munns
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Written by Andy Munns