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Royal visit to Stockport-based charity highlights vital role technology plays in supporting disabled children and adults


His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent visited The Aidis Trust yesterday (Monday 17th October 2016) to see how it provides vital support for disabled people of all ages, enabling them to benefit from and be empowered by the latest computing technologies.

The Aidis Trust is a leading expert in electronic Assistive Technology (eAT). The charity sources and researches the latest technologies and applies them to support many aspects of disabled peoples lives such as education, work, leisure, communication and interacting with their environment.

The charity provides a range of services to disabled children, families, adults and the organisations that support them. This includes: gaming days, technology and education assessments, training, and technical support through a free helpline (0808 800 0009).

HRH The Duke of Kents visit marks 24 years since he became the charity’s patron. It gave His Royal Highness the opportunity to see how the charity’s services have evolved as new technologies have become available; to hear from service users how they have benefited from Aidis services; and to experience first-hand what it is like to drive a virtual car using an eye-tracking technology and virtual reality experiences used in the Trust’s newest service project “Everyone Can Game”.

Duke of Kent trying VR

HRH The duke of Kent enjoying a virtual rollercoaster ride

Jamie Preece, aged 39, who has cerebral palsy and is unable to communicate verbally, has been supported by The Aidis Trust for three years. Using an electronic communication aid, he spoke to His Royal Highness about how, through Aidis support, he’s been able to learn to read and write, make telephone calls, and now has the confidence to go out on his own as he is able to interact more easily with people. Something he found impossible to do before. He said: “This technology has truly changed my life. Its allowed me to do things I couldn’t have dreamed of”.

Jamie Preece meets the Duke of Kent

HRH The Duke of Kent speaking to Jamie and his partner Emma about his technology

Julian Lee, Chief Executive Officer of The Aidis Trust said: “It was a tremendous honour to welcome His Royal Highness to the Aidis Trust and to introduce him to some of our service users and supporters. As our patron, he is extremely supportive of the work that we do to ensure that every person, regardless of their disability or whether they are a child or an adult, can benefit from the opportunities that new technologies provide us with. We were delighted to be able to show the Duke of Kent first-hand the difference our charity is making locally and across the country thanks to the generosity of the public, grant giving organisations and other charities. We would also like to thank Emerson Management Services for their support in making this visit a success”.

The Duke of Kent was joined on his visit to The Aidis Trust by HM Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester Mr Warren Smith, the Mayor and Mayoress of Stockport Councillor Christopher Gordon and Dr Margaret Gordon, service users and staff at the charity, as well as representatives from supporters and potential users of the technology from the University of Manchester, The University of Salford, Manchester Metropolitan University and Heaton Special School.

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