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Disabled gamers raise vital funds for charity at marathon Leeds event

By Jamie Woodhouse and Seb Sternik 

Over 20 television sets, 50 video game controllers and enough food to feed a nation, all added up to a 24 hour e-gaming extravaganza, which saw disabled gamers raise £1300 all for a good cause, in Leeds.

GameBlast, the UK’s largest gaming event marathon, which supports the charity SpecialEffects, was held during the final weekend of February.

E-gaming has seen a huge surge in popularity over the past few years, with the sector believed to be worth over £4.2 billion in the UK. Events like GameBlast are now making the market more accessible to disabled gamers, something which Yorkshire is keen to push forward with.

The William Merrit Centre in Rodley was created 35 years ago to help people living with disability. Marketing manager Rachel Gough is happy to see clients at the WMC have a chance to compete:”It is very valuable that games and consoles can be adapted so that people with a disability can game too.

“The games industry is developing rapidly and works from the same school of thought as the centre, in that every day activities should be accessible and inclusive for everyone.”

A range of adapted classic games were played during the event, including Human Hungry Hippos and 1D Pong. One gamer even recreated the new WMC in Minecraft.

Paula Spencer, an occupational therapist at WMC, and organiser of the event said: “This is our third event but it’s the first time in our brand new building in Rodley. This is the first time where we have had a lot more space to have more people visiting. We are using both floors to host the event.

“It’s really important to raise the profile of what we do here. We do some amazing work in terms of helping young people, children and adults who have disabilities to be able to do the things that everybody else does.



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