Mid and South Essex Hospitals Charity has funded interactive light projectors for Essex care homes and community hospitals, using a grant received from NHS Charities Together.

Three interactive magic tables have been purchased by the Mid and South Essex CCGs, using money awarded to Mid and South Essex Hospitals Charity by NHS Charities Together and Captain Sir Tom Moore’s fundraising.  They are part of a pilot of 20 sensory tables that are going to be used in care homes and community settings across mid and south Essex.

The magic table 360s, project light on to a surface like a table, floor, ceiling or even someone’s bed. People can then use their hands, arms or feet to move through the light, which will then change and move images. They can also interact with a wide variety of music, pictures and games while using the projector. The projector is part of the Happiness Programme; a service combining this technology with training and support to help empower care teams to deliver best-in-class activities and personalised care.

The company behind the programme, Social Ability, loaned a number of their projectors to Brentwood Community Hospital during the pandemic, to help provide enrichment activities to residents who were unable to go out or meet with their families.  The projectors were so successful that the CCGs who are part of the Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership, have since decided to purchase 20 magic table 360s and pilot them across their care homes.

Sachin D. Jeeneea, Nursing Associate at Brentwood Community Hospital, which is run by NELFT, said:

‘Lockdown has been stressful for those in our care as their normal routines have been disrupted, leaving them anxious and upset.  Our staff are always trying to provide activities that help lift their spirits and enrich their day-to-day lives, therefore being able to use these magic tables has been fantastic.  The reaction of our residents as they interact with the staff, has been wonderful.  It really has been a joy to watch.’

Social-Ability is a social venture with an ambition to make society happier. Their first goal is to spark laughter and happiness for everyone living with dementia, so they developed the Happiness Programme to tackle the challenges faced by those with dementia and learning difficulties.

Andrew Spiers, Sales Director for Social Ability, said:

‘For anyone with dementia or learning difficulties, communication and interaction with their environment and other people is essential for their wellbeing, as it gives them dignity and improves their self-esteem. The Happiness Programme provides a whole-body approach to communication, using interactive projected images to provide a catalyst for conversation and interaction that can bring friends and family together.  It also provides information about a person’s interactions, helping to improve and personalise the activities, as well as enables staff to demonstrate an individual’s progress’.

Lucy Thomas-Clayton, director, Mid and South Essex Hospitals Charity said: “We are delighted to be able to support Mid and South Essex CCGs in providing the interactive magic tables. It is wonderful to see the grant money from NHS Charities Together making a difference in the community and we hope many patients can benefit from and enjoy this fantastic new service.

The roll out of the Happiness Programme across Essex is one of a number of projects currently being undertaken to support people going into hospital or living in care settings with dementia; other projects include interactive robotic therapy cat and dogs.