Background The Truacanta Project is a national project set up to support groups in Scotland to build local, sustainable compassionate communities. The pandemic meant a quick pivot from in-person activity to previously unexplored digital approaches. We are exploring and evaluating the successes and challenges of such approaches, and how these experiences will impact a return to in-person activity.
Aim(s) The broad aim of the Truacanta Project is to improve local experiences of death, dying and bereavement. Groups in Ayrshire, Dundee, Highland, North Berwick and Perthshire aimed to work with their local community from April 2020 to map need and plan inclusive and accessible compassionate community activity. When doing this in-person became impossible, digital alternatives were explored.
Methods 2018-2020: model explorations and planning, shortlisting and selection of final five Truacanta groups.
2020-2022: evaluation, consultation, interviews, anecdotal recordings, survey data, desk research.
Results Digital approaches can be more accessible and inclusive than in-person activity. People have learned new skills, and access to the activity has had a positive impact. Groups lacking capacity found that digital activity required less energy and time to organise. However, for many the digital world is less accessible due to lack of skill or hardware; or undesirable as it lacks the energy and comfort of in-person company, is stressful to navigate and screen time can exacerbate health issues. We anticipate a community desire to return to in-person activity and recommend a hybrid approach to further improve accessibility and inclusion, to minimise isolation, and to maximise what can be done with limited capacity.
Conclusions Evaluation to date shows a positive impact from digital approaches alongside a desire for a return to in-person activity. Further activity and evaluation will allow a more in-depth analysis and creation of a supportive framework for sustainable hybrid activity.
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