Video gamers to play for charity

Committed video gamers from the William Merritt Centre are gearing up to burn the midnight oil to raise money for people with disabilities.

Friday, 10th February 2017, 4:39 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th February 2017, 12:32 pm
Staff at the William Merritt Disabled Living Centre celebrate after moving into a new purposely renovated building in Rodley which was officially opened by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson in January 2017. Picture Tony Johnson.

Gamers from the independent living centre in Rodley will play video games continuously for 24 hours from February 24 to 25 as part of GameBlast17.

They are aiming to raise £1,000 for the charity SpecialEffect, which uses technology to help people with disabilities benefit from the fun and inclusion of video games.

William Merritt Centre gamer Colin McDonnell said: “In the last two years I have seen a dramatic change in the technology that has enabled more people with disabilities to play games. By raising money for SpecialEffect, you are ensuring all people with disabilities get the opportunity to take part in gaming if they want to, and by raising money through Gameblast17 we hope to help these people do that.”

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The first three GameBlast weekends, from 2013 to last year, raised more than £400,000. This will help SpecialEffect visit people to find out exactly what they want to play, and what they need to play it. They will then match, modify or create equipment to lend to them, and give support so they can get the best out of it. Public support is vital because SpecialEffect don’t charge for anything they do, and don’t sell any equipment.

Video games enthusiast Nathan Sumpner said: “I think Gameblast is an amazing event because it helps raise money for a charity which helps people who can’t easily play video games.”

The marathon gaming session will finish with a coffee morning to raise funds for the William Merritt Centre, which was established 35 years ago to enable disabled people to live as independently as possible. It is the only one of its kind in Leeds.