The initiative fought off stiff competition from eight other community-focused projects delivered by affordable housing providers and local authorities. For the first time the awards ceremony was held virtually, and watched online by customers and colleagues.
The Virtual Places project was conceived last year as an innovative initiative aimed at tackling issues faced by older and disabled customers, focussing particularly on loneliness caused by social isolation. It was funded by a grant from Places for People social value investment charity Places Foundation.
Through a rolling programme of sessions at Derwent Living retirement schemes and care facilities across Places for People, hundreds of residents have taken part, with the project receiving praise and positive feedback.
Each session is delivered in a familiar and friendly communal setting by an in-house team of trained colleagues. Using virtual reality headsets, the team run through an initial exercise to familiarise those taking part with the technology, and then customers are encouraged to share memories, passions and hobbies, which the team match to virtual videos and experiences.
TPAS judges were particularly impressed at how the technology can be adapted and designed to meet the specific needs of individuals.
Customer engagement manager Mitch Allseybrook said: “Virtual Places has been a pleasure to deliver, and we want to thank each and every resident who has taken part and shared their experiences with us."
This award marks the second year in row of winning at TPAS. You can find out more about the project in this video: