Upward Mobility (UPMO)
Charity registered in Scotland SC037917
People with additional support needs and their families can feel isolated, unsupported and socially excluded - families can feel at breaking point. Upward Mobility is a charity based in Edinburgh that provides support, learning opportunities and short breaks for young people and adults with additional support needs. We run an extensive programme of workshops and activities that enable our students to learn new skills, gain confidence and make and sustain friendships. Our workshops range from playing in a rock band, to animation and film making, to dance, drama, catering and employability skills. We support our students to become more independent, take up new opportunities and realise their potential. Upward Mobility was set up 10 years ago. Currently 140 students attend the project from Edinburgh and the Lothians. 60% of our board has direct experience of caring for a family member with additional support needs.
- From 4th March 2017 to 3rd June 2020
- Award: £10,000 via Call 4
This national project aims to harness the potential of digital media to enable their students – all of whom have additional support needs – to: tell their stories and express their opinions online using multimedia tools; feel more connected and engaged; more easily pursue their interests; and increase their networks. The project is also intended to create opportunities for the students to increase their confidence and social capital. Rather than merely providing workshops, this project proposes to work closely with students to overhaul how Upward Mobility, as an organisation, use digital media to support their students and connect with other organisations. The project will benefit 140 students with additional support needs, at least 140 families, and around 60 Upward Mobility staff. A digital review and strategy will be undertaken that will guide how they can make better use of technology and social media to achieve strategic aims in the future. They will also be up-skilling staff and students. Technology will be used in all workshops (cooking, school of rock, animation, art) and will revolutionise the way they communicate internally and externally - students will become more involved in that process. The project will be developed and managed by the Development & Curriculum Managers.
Establishment of student pioneer group
Consultancy complete and production of written strategy
Training completed (staff and student)
Establish platforms and initial content production
The SCVO money has given us the opportunity to train all of our staff in basic iPad skills as well as how to use accessibility functions on the iPad. This has provided them with the skills and confidence to assist our students in areas they may not have realised existed previously. Furthermore, we have been able to train our facilitators on how to utilise the iPads in a workshop situation, this has created IT access for all of our students and is giving them vital skills to learn, develop and inspire others to do the same.
This project has been paused temporarily. We have lost two key members of staff during this period. These staff have now been replaced but it was felt more beneficial to pause the project rather than to attempt to continue the project without key staff in place. The new staff are very excited about the potential of the project and are looking forward to really getting to grips with what we can do. In addition, we have been successful in our fundraising for a new 'digital lab'. It has made sense for us to delay this project slightly so that we can link this project in directly with the development of this new resource.
We have had a slow start to this project as we are working through issues around vulnerable adult protection, privacy and online safety. As an organisation we want to move forward responsibly with the project and we are finding it more difficult than we anticipated to make sure that an appropriate framework is in place. This is not a negative issue. It just means our learning around this area is greater than we anticipated. We are a relatively large organisation with not much experience in using social media ourselves or with students and so we have a lot to learn.
We have completed an audit of digital skills that our students currently have - so we are clearer about what the focus for our training should be.
With the help of 3rd Sector Lab, we have produced a social media strategy and update our 'permissions' forms so that they are more transparent.