Virtual reality parties are providing a way for children to be able to interact while still staying Covid safe.

VR Gateway in Carlisle has been able to adapt the way of working to open up and offer parties for children while staying Covid-19 safe.

Virtual parties allow children to be close in the virtual world while still staying apart in the real world.

Director, Ian Irving explained how these were benefitting children’s mental health and giving them a way to interact in a social setting.

He said: “So we have quite a big open arena and about four VR stations.

“At the moment, because of restrictions, we are encouraging people to stay in their headsets.

“They come in get their instructions, they’re sat separately and we give them a walk through of what they’ll be using.

“We get them onboard with their headsets separately and then they get to play together in VR.”

Children are able to get as virtually close together as possible while still being in separate rooms.

All participants are able to touch in the virtual world and speak to each other via headsets.

Mr Irving highlighted the benefits of this for children’s mental health, although children are able to interact at school this now gives them the opportunity to interact socially.

“Children are physically active in their own area and able to move around,” added Mr Irving.

“It gives them the opportunity to interact, see each other and speak to each other. We’ve been doing birthday parties pretty much since we opened but we’ve restricted the format a little bit because of Covid.

“We’re trying to not mix around with headsets. In terms of feedback it’s been really good.”

For anyone worried about coronavirus, strict measures have been put in place to make sure it is safe.

Social distancing reminder notices are posted and the outside will be locked, admittance is strictly by appointment only.

Staff members will explain the controls at distance, and instruct on putting on the equipment.

Spectators for any booking will be strictly limited to maintain social distancing advice.

As well as this deep cleaning will regularly take place.

Mr Irving said: “We use PU leather cushion pads or silicone covers on all headsets, these are changed and cleaned with medical-grade UV after each customer.”