RBS donates £18,000 of technology to students

Lee Chapman and Paul Tunnock from RBS with Royal School Manchester student Harrison Linley-Jones and learning support assistant, Andrea Wollaston

Seashell Trust has received £18,000 of specialist equipment from RBS that will help transform the lives of disabled young people.

The Royal School and College Manchester, run by Seashell Trust, use assistive technology to teach independence and to encourage its students, many of whom have autism, learning difficulties and communication disorders, to interact with the world.

Lee Chapman and Paul Tunnock from RBS, visited Seashell Trust to see the audio-visual assistive equipment in action.

The donations from RBS were part of a scheme where the scrap value from redundant IT equipment from the bank is rebated and the profit funds new technology which is donated to chosen community projects to help improve young people’s learning experiences.

The school chose an omiReflex interactive wall projection system, while the college received several items, including an iPad air, soundbox, interactive LED colour mix and projector and a sensory portare.

Sarah Keddy, the school's assistive technologist, said: “All that is required to interact with omiReflex is for the user to pass part of their body through a beam of light. Even the smallest movement is rewarded with sounds and images projected on the walls, immersing users in a virtual world.

“For many of our students, playing a mainstream instrument would be out of the question, but this system provides them with the opportunity to do exactly that. By waving their hands, head or even little finger they can interact and revel in the outcome. This has to be one of the most fantastic, creative, motivating tools to encourage our students to interact with the world and gain further understanding of cause and effect.”

Assistive technologist for the Royal College Manchester Matt Daly said: “With the new equipment generously provided by RBS we will be able to fully engage our students in therapy, music and performance sessions. No longer will there be that barrier that stops a teacher from carrying out an effective session due to broken or inadequate equipment.”

Lee Chapman, client services manager at RBS in Manchester, said: “Seeing the equipment in action was truly remarkable, and extremely rewarding. We had the list of the equipment and been told it was really exciting but, to be honest, the only recognisable item was the iPad. To then go and see the omiReflex and what it could do was breathtaking. Seeing one of the young students, Harrison, using the equipment to play music and the pleasure it gave him was remarkable, and just hit home as to how much of a difference the equipment could make.

“Similarly a demo of how the iPad could control the lighting set up in the college was equally amazing. The overwhelming feeling was one of pride about how valuable this equipment was to the trust, and the difference it could make to the students' lives, something that can be quite easy to forget when simply working through the admin to approve and placing the order.

“We came away with an enormous sense of positivity and reward. Meeting the students, seeing the trust and its plans for the future, reaffirmed the view that the trust is a charity that RBS wants to support, and continue to look to develop and enhance our relationship.”

Dominic Tinner, from Seashell Trust, said: “We are extremely grateful to RBS and the team in Manchester for supporting Seashell in this way. This is just the sort of equipment that makes a huge difference to the lives of the children and young people in our care.”

RBS is continuing its commitment to sending staff to volunteer in the Seashell Trust's gardens and looking at the possibility of offering work experience to some of the trust's students.