Gaming might be fun, but it doesn’t only have to be for entertainment.

It can bring us together, open our eyes to new ways of thinking and provide a form of stress relief. It can also do a whole lot of positive things for good causes.

Later Levels actively supports several gaming-related charities. I’ve taken part in streaming marathons, fun-runs, pub quizzes, volunteering on stands at expos and conventions – and made some great friends doing so.

AnyKey, charity, eSports, women, cheer

Click on the following links to find out more about the work of these amazing organisations and how you can show your support.

The difference that access to video games can make to quality of life can sometimes be truly transformational. – Dr Mick Donegan, SpecialEffect

SpecialEffect

SpecialEffect aims to put fun and inclusion back into the lives of people with physical disabilities through the innovative use of technology. At the core of their mission is their work to optimise inclusion, enjoyment and quality of life by helping individuals control video games to the best of their abilities.

This mission extends far beyond gaming though. Eye-gaze software is used to bring communication, independence and hope to people in intensive care units with a severe injury or illness; and telepresence robots help reconnect medically-isolated children with their education and friends. The organisation is committed to making life better for those who need it, for as long as possible and free-of-charge.

I’ve volunteered for SpecialEffect since meeting the team at the EGX expo in 2013, helping on their stand at events across the UK and hosting presentations on their work. I also take part in the annual GameBlast marathon every February. There is a whole range of events listed on their website that everyone is welcome to get involved in.

Having the opportunity to see the equipment they use and meet some of the individuals they’ve helped has really made me see that video games are more than simply entertainment, and can bring positive benefits to so many people.

GameBlast

Gamers come together every February to take part in GameBlast, the UK’s biggest annual charity gaming marathon weekend. The aim is to raise funds and awareness for SpecialEffect, an organisation which supports the thousands of people who want to share our passion for video games but are stopped or limited by their physical disabilities.

The money raised through the event helps the team continue their work to support those who need it, for as long as possible and free-of-charge. Jump back to the section above for more information about them.

My husband and I have participated in GameBlast since it began in 2014 and attempt to go bigger and better every year. Gaming for 24-hours or more can be an experience which requires plenty of stamina and effort (as well as caffeine), but doing it for such a great cause makes it so worthwhile.

Keep your eyes on the blog for regular updates on what we’ve got planned for the next event. Get in touch if you have any ideas or would like to join in.

We’re helping lead the charge for gamers who believe in compassion, integrity, respect, and courage. – Morgan Romine, AnyKey

AnyKey

Anybody should feel welcome in gaming, everybody ought to be included, and all people deserve the right to be fairly represented. That’s why AnyKey’s primary objective is to increase diversity, inclusion and equality in both competitive gaming and live streaming.

This non-profit organisation fosters change and empowers their champions in making a difference, building a more inclusive world for all gamers. It’s possible to be fiercely competitive while embracing positive play, so they pursue research and initiatives aimed at creating a gaming culture in which players are known for their skills rather than their personal traits.

Sign up to take the GLHF Pledge to help them create a gaming ecosystem that welcomes everyone and includes all, no matter their shape, size, colour, gender, background, disability or beliefs. It shows your promise to make a difference as a positive and inclusive citizen in your own gaming spaces.

Get Well Gamers, charity, hospital, man, child
AnyKey, charity, girl, woman, gamers

Get Well Gamers

Get Well Gamers is a UK charity that takes donated video games and consoles to hospitals, hospices and other healthcare settings around the country where gaming can provide a power-up. It’s an effective and proven pain management tool, giving much-needed entertainment to people during long hospital stays or in circumstances where recreational activities can be hugely beneficial.

Visit the website to find out about the items the organisation is currently looking for, along with details on how to donate your games and consoles. They’re also on the hunt for people who are willing to volunteer their time and gamers who’d like to raise funds and awareness for their cause.

We need to protect the people that make the games and work within this industry, and we need to protect our gamers. – Leo Zullo, Safe In Our World

Safe In Our World

The main goal of Safe In Our World is to foster mental health awareness within the video game industry and beyond. They want to remind everyone that you’re never alone, and it’s ok to not be ok all the time.

The organisation aims to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental wellbeing so it becomes a natural topic of everyday discussion, and promotes dialogue so people aren’t afraid to reach our for help if they need it.

The #LevelUpMentalHealth challenge encourages all companies in the industry to unite and commit to change. They’re asking these businesses to consider their teams and the impact their work has on their lives, and ensure the workplace environment is safe and supportive for everyone’s mental health.