OUR OWN VIRTUAL REALITY YOUTH SHED!!!
When Covid first hit us we went into react mode! We reached out to as may Shedderz as possible in a bit of a panic and we soon got 'Zoomed' out! Once the initial shock wave was over we moved into 'respond' and started to look at new innovative ways to engage some of our harder to reach youngsters.
Thanks to the Steve Morgan Foundation we got funding for the young Shedderz to create their own mobile app and to create an online platform of our own - an invitation only platform for young people, by young people.
Then we had an idea! Wouldn't it be awesome to have a Virtual Reality Youth Shed?!?! A place where Shedderz could meet in a virtual platform - a place that would be accessible regardless of ability, disability, confidence - a place where Shedderz could meet and explore virtual experiences.
Thanks to SIP funding, the Open University, Coleg Cymoed and funding from the KFC Foundation we have done it!
We now have 10 VR headsets and thanks to a small group of pioneers from towns including Blaenau Ffestiniog, Ruthin, Colwyn Bay, Llandudno, Penmaenmawr, and even Neath in South Wales, we developed a virtual space. This led us to think about ways to engage other young people with VR and using frame, we began to create a VR escape room experience. Our creative writing group got together to help come up with clues for each of the objects and a skilled animator kindly helped us with making 3D versions of those objects which we've hidden around the college campus we then began to fill the space with Youth Shedz picture, banners, principles and logos and made it ours.
We are constantly building VR into opportunities to further develop our connections in other communities by doing VR experiences for other organizations, allowing young people to try something new that they otherwise might not be able to experience.
We are also developing a County Lines and Knife Crime VR experience, taking advice from our young people and the police, and some agencies in Merseyside who work around Gang Crime, to expose some of the behaviour and situations that young people need to be aware of.
Youth Shedz has still barely tapped into the full potential of VR and we are constantly looking for more ways to utilize our headsets and to create the best virtual space possible which is accessible to everyone- even without a headset. Watch this space to see how we further develop using the VR.
If you want to try out VR with your young people, or if you would like to get involved in developing the work, please contact us to arrange a chat!