Volunteer Celebration Event
The ONSIDE project set itself ambitious objectives and equally ambitious targets, and not only met them but exceeded them under unprecedented and unpredictable circumstances.
Despite several obstacles such as no vital equipment for the first six months and then the world going into an almost global lockdown, the ONSIDE team showed incredible agility and adapted to meet and overcome those hurdles.
Now that this incarnation of ONSIDE has reached the end of its current tenure, similar future projects have much to learn from it.
The ONSIDE project is a notable example of fantastic teamwork. The partners worked together as a unit to meet the project deliverables, with good governance and oversight, ensuring smooth running throughout.
ONSIDE has proven that it is possible to deliver digital training online to people with disabilities, even under unprecedented conditions – if the proper support structures are in place.
Our most important legacy is the fact that thousands of people are now more involved in the world around them though their connectivity to all sorts of groups and platforms, which diminishes isolation.
The overwhelming support and gratitude from the vast majority of participants speaks volumes about the project’s success and bodes well for any future initiatives.
While we can crunch the myriad numbers over the courses and topics delivered, the ages and gender of participants who took part and their disabilities, no amount of statistical analysis can properly define the emotional and mental improvement in the quality of life for those who took part, as well as allowing them to access services most take for granted while protecting them from potential harm or financial loss as they learned how to navigate in the online world safely.
Those who responded to evaluation on completion of the project consistently referred to an increase in self-confidence and esteem, and a lessening of isolation and loneliness as they made new friends and contacts and renewed old ones while taking giant steps into the modern technological world and the changing way social interaction takes place and day-to-day tasks are now carried out.
A most common expression in responses was that ONSIDE had opened up a ‘whole new world’ to so many participants, and that surely is a prize beyond measure.
Volunteers Lynda & Jackie meet for the first time in person after lockdown.
The ONSIDE Partners would like to thank the Interreg VA Programme and SEUPB for funding this crucial project.
We would also like to thank all the services that have engaged with the programme and who continue to support our participants, and to those who assisted with our Community Connection and Social Inclusion Workshops. You are too many to mention here, but please accept our grateful thanks for your vital contribution.
Finally, a word of appreciation to all the ONSIDE participants, to the wonderful volunteers who contributed in so many ways, and to the ONSIDE staff team for making ONSIDE such a great success.