This is a guest post from Anna Pilson. Anna is a PhD student at Durham University School of Education. Her ESRC-funded project aims to create a participatory action research model that positions children with a vision impairment as knowledge producers and change agents. She tweets as @pilsonanna. Now that the Covid-19 pandemic has radically altered the […]
Park View Project was created from a cry for help from older and disabled residents of North Tyneside who were frustrated, confused and, for many, in fear of using the internet because of the negative press relating to fraud, abuse, bullying and lack of privacy. Yet many older people are aware of the acceleration of digitization, but this only adds to the sense of being ‘outside looking in’. Does the public perceive this as a problem! It is not broadcast so it’s ‘unheard’ and ‘unseen’ by many agencies, organisations and businesses who, in turn, only reinforce this mind-set by assuming everyone has access to e-resources.
‘Starting as a volunteer steering group in 2013 we collected evidence about individuals not online and how this created difficulty in managing day-to day tasks. Adopting a traditional community development strategy to seek out solutions, we were able to reach out to those not online and attempt to gain an insight into the realities of ‘digital non-compliance’. The outcomes then are as now, which involves: –
Create a digital community which increases the online & Offline presence of vulnerable residents by providing a ‘voice which promotes community engagement.
Via Mentoring, promote sharing of skills, life experience and, reduce levels of social & economic isolation while increasing access to socially essential services.
Increase local opportunities for work, education, and leisure-based activities across the borough.
Reduce incidence of online bullying, fraud and Hate crime across all vulnerable groups across the borough.
Our aims are to tackle social & economic isolation; increase awareness & understanding of the applications that digital media can be used for and strive towards integrating life experience with that of learning 21st century digital services. Our proposal for developing a volunteer Online Chums service, alongside our active learning module, will address social and economic isolation which individual’s experience, including practical help in using everyday digital gadgets and their applications. Importantly, the social goal is to integrate our digital methods in a way that provides a community development tool which acts as a focus for promoting mutual support, ownership and, importantly, participation in local neighbourhood & borough-wide activities. In this small community we draw on volunteers from across our local community to take on a variety of roles such as digital mentoring (no special skills needed just people skills and commonsense); attending our outreach sessions (C19 emergency excluded); website design and content management; social media championing; updating contacts; promotion/marketing. We also welcome volunteers who enjoy online tutoring in a vast number of subjects – free – which engage people in a way that encourages inter-generational community-based activities. Central to all our work is a social one where we want to not just support to manage your online presence but increase social circles of support at a community level. You can register your interest in becoming a volunteer if you live in the North Tyneside area: