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The Way Back Blog - September 2018

The Way Back Blog

Balance and progress

Wow. To say the last 6 weeks have been exhausting and enthralling in equal measure would be an understatement. One of the biggest challenges awe’ve faced all along has been balancing our time on The Wayback with our day jobs in film and commercials production, and this has been particularly evident during the last few weeks.

With several big productions underway, many of our calls and contacts with care homes, researchers and members of the public have taken place from airports, train stations and bus stops around the world! But it just shows the passion and determination of the team that we’ve managed to keep The Wayback progressing.

Evaluating The wayback with our micro grant:

For the past few weeks, The Wayback has left the clutches of our team and gone to be independently evaluated through a series of tests and trials, paid for with our micro grant from The Challenge Dementia fund. The evaluation, run in collaboration with David Sheard, founder of Dementia Care Matters and Peter Bewert RN, CEO of Dementia Care Matters and the Salvation Army, will take place in a dozen DCM approved care homes and a dozen independent care homes. We’re immensely thankful for the grant allowing us to undertake this evaluation – and very proud that it’s out there being tested.

An Essex appeal:

Newspaper cutting about The Wayback

The connection between Essex and The Wayback is a strong one. For me, Dan, it began with my own parents who lived in Clacton. Our experience with dad in many ways inspired the project and so going back to talk to the local Clacton paper as a way of involving the local community seemed like going full circle.

We secured an interview with The Gazette and were delighted to see The Wayback featured in the newspaper at the beginning of August. The interview led, as we hoped, to many people from the local area getting in touch. Most were members of the public wishing to find out more but we were also contacted by a number of care homes looking to trial The Wayback with their own residents.

The result is a workshop day with the residents of at least one, possibly two, care homes in the next two weeks. We hope that the local TV and newspapers will also come and take an interest in order to further spread the word.

Reaching further afield:

The Wayback is intended as a tool that anyone can use. And it seems to interest a number of communities, from the care industry to the creative industries – and even the art world. The Wayback is not in any way a medical solution but along the way we have found support from the medical community both here in the UK and abroad. So when Docwire, a blog that reaches 1 million health care providers globally every day, got in touch we were really happy to have an interview and spread the idea far and wide.

Another interesting contact came from a STEM Ambassador at Canterbury University – who wrote to tell us that they are using The Wayback as a teaching aid – and the Learning Director at the BFI who told us they are sharing it with their students at The South Bank campus.

We were also really pleased to be contacted by Computer Arts magazine, the world’s best-selling magazine for designers searching for insight and inspiration, and were delighted to see The Wayback in the September edition.

Finally, when a community of international renowned artists and museum curators (Tate Modern, MOMO) got in touch to say they would be awarding it for the most innovative use of technology we were overwhelmed.

For us, every community we can reach gives us more chance of the Wayback being used by people who might benefit from it – and future support for the project.

The Alzheimer’s Show continued…and continued…:

As we said last month, The Alzheimer’s Show was a really important time for us as it opened our eyes to so many realities around the disease and also to the industry around it. But of course best of all were the people we got to meet.

Several of these meetings have led to interesting, ongoing conversations this month. From a Sikh community group who would like to investigate a special version of the film relevant to their own community’s experiences; to several care home providers who took away some of our cardboard headsets and have reported great experiences.
In the next two weeks we also have some further meetings planned with an organisation who has shown an interest in supporting The Wayback.

As one door closes, another pushes ajar:

Our search for a partner who can help us make more films continues, and we find ourselves on an almost weekly basis visiting all kinds of companies and businesses. While one long term relationship with a major energy provider has had to pause due to changes in their own business, another door opened with a major High Street Retailer. We were fortunate enough to present The Wayback in person to some of their management team last week and see their really positive reactions to the film. Fingers crossed that it may lead to a working relationship somewhere In the near future.

An auction – and finally more VR headsets arrive at Wayback HQ

The VR headset

In the summer we held an auction at one of our workplaces, Grey London, in order to raise money for The Wayback. Some of the funds we raised on the night (auctioning everything from bespoke art pieces to an original 1966 World Cup programme signed by Geoff Hurst and Gordon Banks!) have now been put towards another supply of cardboard VR headsets. This has been a long time coming as we have so many requests for the headsets from far and wide.

Initially, when we launched The Wayback, we ordered 1000 headsets which we distributed at conferences and sent to anyone who requested them. We paid the postage and packaging ourselves but this has become very expensive to keep up out of our own pockets.

So now we have a new batch paid for by the auction and delivered from our printing partner in Germany - and will be adding a button on our website allowing anyone to buy the headset for their own care homes or loved ones. Take a look at The Wayback website - the BUY button will follow shortly.

A nice pat on the back:

It’s always nice to be recognised for the hard work that has been put into the project by dozens of people. This month it was especially nice to see The Wayback published in the D&AD Annual, a yearly collection of the best design and technology ideas globally, as well as being Finalists in the Advertising industry awards ‘Campaign Big’ and the TV production awards ‘SHOTS’. The Wayback was also featured during the Kinsale Festival in Ireland.

Coming up next…

As we prepare for the Essex Challenge final submissions in November, we’ve also got a very busy few weeks of appearances for The Wayback, care home visits and conferences, including:

  • Dementia Congress, Brighton

    The Wayback has been invited to present twice at this year’s Dementia Congress, alongside our consultant partners, Dementia Care Matters. We will be presenting the results of our independent research and can’t wait – though we’re more than a bit nervous as it is such such a big event.
  • South West Dementia Social Care Conference, Wiltshire

The Wayback will also be appearing alongside the author Wendy Mitchell, Dr David Sheard, Dr Simon Manchip (consultant in Old Age Psychiatry) and Professor Roy Jones (of the Research Institute for the Care of Older People).

Exhausting but incredibly exciting times. If you’d like to get in touch and help us move the wayback forward, please do. You can reach us on info@thewaybackvr.com.

All the best,

The Wayback Team.