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Community and mental health services for Southampton, Portsmouth and parts of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.


Kestrel Centre Launches virtual tour during Learning Disability Week

Following the incredibly positive response to the vaccination hub virtual tours, Solent NHS Trust has again partnered with EnableAbility to produce a tour of its centre for people with learning disabilities.

The tours have been shown to reduce anxiety and increase accessibility for service users whose difficulties or disabilities range in severity; often people with quite mild needs may face difficulties in orientating around a new building or location.  This virtual tour is designed to be immersive and provide points on the journey to reassure and support.

Portsmouth charity Enable Ability has partnered with Solent NHS Trust to produce highly accessible virtual tours of all four of its major vaccination hubs across Hampshire and the Isle of wight.  These tours are designed to reduce anxiety and provide a tool to support people with learning disabilities or anxiety.

The tours work as a series of snap shots, indicating the main points through a patient’s journey through the vaccination hub. Filmed without people, so removing any distracting features, the films may be viewed multiple times until the watcher becomes completely comfortable with the location’s environment and experience.

The virtual tour was shared at today’s Learning Disability Forum and received a positive response from carers and service users.

The Integrated Disability Service is delivered in partnership by Solent NHS Trust and Portsmouth City Council.  Ian Chalcroft, Integrated Learning Disability Services Manager, explained “We are delighted to have had the opportunity of working with the ‘what’s it like’ team in producing this tour and film about our building. We believe this resource will be a powerful tool to help those who are anxious about visiting us for the first time. We recognise the need for a range of accessible resources that assist people to feel confident and informed about our service. We are also so please that two of our service users were able to be involved in the development of this resource.

Mary Anne is our expert in Makaton signing. She was able to produce a signed version of the films while Ray was able to narrate the non-signed version. Ray said that he thoroughly enjoyed the experience of making the film and is proud of himself for this achievement. We hope it helps many of our future service users and  Solent sees this as an example of best practice.  We will be working to ensure this used as a benchmark for the NHS.”

Jon Muller, Chair of Enable Ability said “Enable Ability are proud to be able to contribute to the incredible national efforts to ensure people with learning disabilities have the right support to access the services they require.  Our What’s It Like? service provides a specialised communication tool that helps people who live with anxiety access places and services, and we are thrilled to see it used to help people with learning disabilities to live their lives.”

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