Local learning disability technology specialist Alex Roland, is striving to create change and make a difference through his passion for video gaming. After being shocked and astounded by reading that over one third of disabled people report that they are still spending too much time isolated and alone – on a level with the statistics during the peak of the Covid19 pandemic. And, how nearly half of disabled people are experiencing poor mental health compared to a fifth of those that are non-disabled. He knew that something needed to change to help better their lives…
Alex was determined to see change and came to the decision that making it happen himself, in a way that could benefit those in the disabled community here in Somerset, was the best way forward. The launch of a brand new service for neurodivergent adults over the age of 18 was his answer to the dilemma. Based around the concept of bringing both the people he currently supports and the wider learning disability community together through games and gaming!
Game Changer, is a 3hr session based at Taunton Library where people can come together to chat, chill and play the latest and greatest games or even just play the games they grew up with and love. They specialise in games such as Nintendo’s “Ring-fit adventures” which get people physically as well as mentally active.
Alex comments that: “Gaming isn’t just about people sitting in darkened rooms playing in isolation, it’s a massively important social activity for many people and we want to help people get the most from it!”
This project is part of Love Community CIC which is a strategic umbrella organisation that represents a range of community based initiatives. Its key aims are to support activities that will benefit the whole community with the intention of reducing social isolation, increasing community engagement, increasing health and wellbeing, building confidence, forming friendships and learning new skills. Alex was also able to obtain funding from a range of local organisations including Somerset County Council , Somerset Community Foundation and Discovery.
As an additional note, Alex also launched ANVG ( The Association for Neurodiversity in video games) in 2021 which aims to help people with neurodiversity have their voices heard in the Gaming industry.
Digital Somerset wishes Alex the best of luck in his ‘Game Changing’ adventure!