Eight digital social projects can press play

Children, youth and adults in socially disadvantaged positions are particularly hard hit by COVID-19 having restricted social communities. Eight projects will show new digital paths in social initiatives. From digital family workshops to e-sports for children and youth with physical disabilities.

Communities for all

This is the ambition behind VELUX FONDEN’s support for social projects in Denmark. In 2021, a total of DKK 55 million has been granted for method-developing social projects in Denmark that allow socially disadvantaged people to take active part in social communities.

Read more about the grant area for social projects in Denmark.

How can the experiences from testing of digital solutions under the COVID-19 pandemic be used for social projects that include more persons in constructive communities? This was the question posed to the applicant environments from VELUX FONDEN’s grant area for social projects in Denmark. The foundation’s Board has now selected eight projects that will receive grants totalling DKK 21 million for development and testing of new methods.

“We’re very interested in how digital solutions can support social work, and we’re looking forward to following the eight projects. Digital support of social projects aren’t only relevant with the current COVID-19 restrictions, but must be expected to constitute a significant part of the social projects of the future,” says Head of Programme Vibeke Lybecker.

Potential of communities in pixels

The eight projects show new ways to engage children, youth and adults. The projects supplement each other in terms of methodological approach, target groups and geographical spread. Together, they form a palette of projects with different proposals for how digital solutions can support social projects.

“The digital element seems to lower the barriers for establishment of relations for some target groups with which public and civil social initiatives have previously had difficulty in establishing relations. In addition, the digital element has a special potential in sparsely populated areas, where, with a digital solution, you can offer services even though there is a long distance to physical facilities,” stresses Vibeke Lybecker.

See the projects
Digital social work

By Landsforeningen af VæreSteder (National Association of Drop-in Centres), DKK 1,804,200

COVID-19 has required a lockdown of Danish society, including all drop-in centres in Denmark. Socially disadvantaged users of drop-in centres have been without their normal daily point of reference and without the people they normally rely on for support. Therefore, in spring 2020, Landsforeningen af VæreSteder created ‘The Digital Drop-in Centre’. The purpose of the project is to develop and test methods, and to acquire knowledge about the performance of social work digitally. The project idea is based on tangible experiences from the lockdown in spring 2020 and a need among the target group.

The target group for the project is +700 members of ‘The Digital Drop-in Centre’. Drop-in centre users are characterised by having complex physical, mental and social problems such as mental and physical disorders, homelessness, crime, debt, alcohol and drug abuse as well as loneliness.

E-sports for all

By Center for Kommunikation og Velfærdsteknologi, Region Syddanmark (Centre for Communication and Welfare Technology, Region of Southern Denmark), DKK 2,120,090

The project will examine the possible beneficial effects of e-sports on children and youth who, due to physical functional impairments, are today unable to participate. The purpose of the project is to enable children and youth with special physical disabilities to participate in e-sports activities on an equal footing with other children and youth, thus giving them an opportunity to be part of virtual communities for children and youth.

Digital family workshop

By AAB Horsens, DKK 1,473,000

The purpose of the project is to develop a digital family workshop for families in disadvantaged residential areas. The digital family workshop will be a supplement to the physical family workshop. Families must be helped to build up secure and constructive relations between children and their parents and to acquire tools for maintaining their well-being despite the challenges that they face. Parents must be offered competences in mastering the role of parent. The digital solution is seen as an opportunity to work with families at home and to reach families with which it can be difficult to establish contact through physical attendance alone. The development project is performed in Horsens.

Young people’s digital-democratic education – the path to the communities of tomorrow

By Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke, DKK 3,856,871

Young people’s general formation increasingly takes place via social media. The project is based on the concept of digital democratic formation with the ambition to change young people from being passive and uncritical consumers of digital media to becoming active and responsible co-creators of positive online communities.

The purpose of the project is to develop methods for how young people can practice active citizenship online in constructive communities. The project works in parallel with strengthening the professional standards of the employees who meet the young people in the residential areas.

Community Platform

By Psykiatri & Handicap, Sønderborg Kommune (Department of Mental Health and Disability Services, Municipality of Sønderborg), DKK 2,717,669.

A large proportion of citizens who today receive support in their own homes or in drop-in centres in accordance with section 85 of the Danish Act on Social Services (Serviceloven) currently spend much of their time alone in their own homes. Some want to, but do not the courage to meet the established association life in their local environment. The purpose of the project is to support socially disadvantaged adults with cognitive disability to enable them to participate in constructive communities in the local association life. This will be achieved by developing communities within the setting of the pedagogical drop-in centres, where a platform will be developed for further participation in society for those who are not ready for the meeting with association life.

Gadeidrætspraktik@game – an entrance to developing voluntary communities

By GAME Denmark, DKK 2,674,700

The purpose of the project is to develop methods that can contribute to including and holding on to young people with psychosocial challenges in developing voluntary communities. One aim of the project is to work with how digital education can contribute to create a safe space for the volunteers and thus make it easier to hold on to the young volunteers. The project is performed in Viborg, Silkeborg, Esbjerg, Copenhagen and Aalborg. The ambition of the project is to improve young people’s life opportunities at a moment in time when they are at the threshold of adulthood.

The young people who participate in the project must have their self-esteem increased and strengthen their ability to master social relations, so that they experience that they can be something to others in their role of volunteer. The project will draw on existing youth research with a focus on how participation in arenas for art, culture and sports can make a difference for young people who are on the fringes of society. An external evaluation of the project will be performed by the Centre for Youth Research.

United we stand – constructive communities for socially disadvantaged young men aged between 18 and 25

By DareGender, DKK 3,411,845

The purpose of the project is to prevent and alleviate misthriving among socially disadvantaged young men aged 18-25, through the development of both digital and physical communities for the target group. The goal is to give these young men the tools to create healthy relations, to form part of positive communities and to gain more self-awareness and knowledge about their boundaries. The target group is young men affected by misthriving markers such as loneliness, pressure of expectations and risk behaviour, where they experience an expectation of having to live up to special norms of hypermasculine behaviour. Social Respons will perform an external evaluation of the project.

Go’ gaming

By KFUMs Sociale Arbejde (YMCA Social Work in Denmark), DKK 3,598,382

The purpose of the project is to develop a method in which computer games are used as a means of strengthening social skills and trust among boys and young men who are in a socially disadvantaged position and ease their way into constructive social communities. The project will be performed in social drop-in centres, social cafés, family clubs and treatment services offered under KFUMs Sociale Arbejde. In the encounter with a reflective adult and other like-minded young people, the young person becomes aware of healthy mastery strategies and is strengthened in the belief in his own life mastery.

Anna Høxbro Bak
Communications Adviser, THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS
+45 22 64 03 55
Vibeke Lybecker
Senior Adviser, Head of programme, VELUX FONDEN
+45 23 80 69 80