On Monday 25th March, Miss Lam and I took the Video Games Design Club, led by Vivian (SFC2), to the Astell House Residential Home which was founded by Lilian Faithfull, one of our former Principals.

At CLC I regularly feel a sense of pride at our students' academic achievements and marvel at the ambition of their co-curricular endeavours. On this occasion, I have been especially proud of their empathy, grace and humility.

Through the power of virtual reality, our girls sought to take the residents on journeys around the world from the comfort of their own armchairs. Not having done this before, we were slightly apprehensive about how it would be received; we needn't have worried. When we arrived we were warmly welcomed by the Manager, Mrs Carole Cook, and her team of staff who were also keen to give the technology a try.

Though cautious at first, we soon had a steady stream of residents ready to take us up on our offer. In what was one of many heart-warming moments, a lady asked to go to Piazza San Marco in Venice; she told us that although her daughter and her family now live there she has never been able to visit them. 'Standing' in front of St Mark's Basilica, and clearly moved by the experience, she said 'You don't know how much this means to me'. We were able to transport one gentlemen to Sydney Harbour, somewhere he had not visited since he was stationed there with the Navy before the Sydney Opera House was built.

Over the course of our visit, residents also journeyed with us to sub-Saharan Africa and the polar deserts of Antarctica. Some took in the heights of Victoria Falls in Zambia, while others explored the depths of the Great Barrier Reef in Austraila.

Mrs Cook writes: "Our residents thoroughly enjoyed being virtually transported on safari and reliving wonderful memories of happy times spent in Venice, Chile and Sydney. Technology has remarkable benefits when used to aid positive experiences which otherwise could not be enjoyed by the elderly and we are grateful to you and your team for bringing this to Astell. The residents that took part have been sharing their experiences with the others today and those that did not get the opportunity are already looking forward to taking part in your next visit." 

After the success of our first visit, we are hoping to return later in the year with a few more destinations on the virtual reality 'menu'.

Dr M Lim, Head of EET