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Could you improve the quality of life of people living with dementia?

Residents have just one month left to enter a competition which will see virtual reality films used to help dramatically improve the well-being of those diagnosed with dementia.
Published: 30 May 2023

An estimated 900,000 people in the UK currently have dementia, and this is expected to increase to nearly 1.6 million by 2040. Those living with the condition often experience memory loss, confusion, changes in behaviour and problems with language and understanding, which can be devastating for both them and their loved ones.

As part of Suffolk County Council’s ongoing commitment to providing dementia support, a competition was recently launched to develop life-changing VR films to help those living with the condition. This follows the council investing £80,000 to develop a bespoke VR app, to be called Reverie, based on more than 10 years of clinical research demonstrating the diverse benefits of this technology for people with dementia.

Anyone is welcome to enter the competition, including people living with dementia themselves and their paid or unpaid carers. Entrants do not need to be experienced in film production and only need to submit a simple storyboard outlining the concept of their VR film, which should fall under one of the following six categories:

  • Suffolk
  • Nostalgia
  • Nature
  • Leisure
  • Computer Generated Imagery (CGI)
  • Carer content

Cllr Beccy Hopfensperger, Suffolk County Council Cabinet Member for Adult Care, said:

“Sadly, many of us will have direct experience of someone we know being diagnosed with dementia, and the illness is likely to become more common as our ageing population grows.

“Whilst the condition is devastating for both sufferers and their loved ones, technological advances, such as virtual reality, can provide a fuller and more satisfying quality of life for people living with dementia.

“I would encourage everyone to enter this competition – you don’t need to be an expert in filmmaking, as anyone whose idea is shortlisted will have the unique opportunity to work with our partner, Spark, to bring their concept to life in film.

“It’s been fantastic to receive so many competition entries already but there’s still time to submit storyboard ideas before the end of June. Doing so could be life-changing for someone with dementia who will benefit from the use of VR films to help with their care and significantly boost their well-being.”

The deadline for submission of storyboards is Friday, 30 June. Shortlisted candidates will then proceed to the second round of the competition, where they will receive exclusive support from Spark Emerging Technologies Ltd with planning, filming, and producing their proposed film before the competition closes on Thursday, 31 August.

People living with dementia will evaluate the films before they go on to be judged by a specialist panel.

Winners will then receive the honour of having their films showcased at an awards ceremony and be given a choice of prizes, including a camera kit, top of the range VR Headset, or the option of gifting a year’s subscription to the new VR app with all the required hardware to a care setting of their choice to support someone they know who is living with dementia.

Those wishing to take part in the competition can find further details at