Team UPside 2020 Review

3 min read 

2020 was a transformational year for Team UPside. This article will reflect on 1) our achievements, 2) our lessons, and 3) our strategy going forward into 2021.

Team UPside's Achievements in 2020

In 2020, through hard work, perseverance and clarity of mission - Team UPside has: 

What lessons did we learn in 2020?

  • Power of teamwork - This year we remembered why we're called Team UPside and not just UPside. We would not have achieved the success we've had in 2020 without the resilience of our team members. We all asked for help, shared feedback, put forward ideas and worked together to overcome any obstacle that came in our way. As a team we created a Values document to help guide our actions and decision-making in the future. Our values spell out UPSIDE (Up-skill, Purpose, Sustainable, Initiative, Diversity, Empathy) -  Best Example: Lockdown Learning, Virtual Book Club, 'Inspiration from History' series 
  • Power of projects - Working on a new flagship project every few weeks kept our work engaging and exciting for both our audience and team-members. Consistency is key (which is why we produce our weekly newsletter) but excitement is important too! As a non-profit that creates educational content for young people, the goal is for our audience to take in our content rather than just see it and never engage. Project-based initiatives have proven beneficial in striking the balance between producing consistent and exciting work. - Best Example: Getting Personal (Personal Statement Advice Series)
  • Power of being prepared - The Oxbridge Mock Interview Day was an enormous success this year! In collaboration with In2_law, Team UPside provided mock interviews to over 180 students (from access backgrounds) applying to Oxbridge. By planning the project one month earlier than we did last year, we increased our numbers by over 300%. Preparing earlier enabled us to strategise, publicise and recruit volunteers much more efficiently. You reap what you sow, so sow early. - Best Example: Oxbridge Mock Interview 2020

What will we continue to do in 2021?

  • Digital Content - One of the defining legacies of Covid-19 will likely be the shift towards online learning. Team UPside will continue to utilise online and digital platforms (podcast, Youtube, Instagram etc) to empower young people from-less advantaged backgrounds with educational and inspiring content.
  • Collaboration - This year we built on our strong partnership with in2_Law by collaborating again for the Oxbridge Mock Interview Day 2020. We want to continue collaborating with other organisations that have similar aims and objectives to us - focused on promoting social mobility and increasing equality of opportunity in society. - Want to collaborate with Team UPside? 
  • Volunteers - Volunteers play an integral role in Team UPside's organisational structure. In our Getting Personal Series and Oxbridge Mock Interview Day, we benefited immensely from the help of volunteers. In 2021, we will continue to create opportunities for volunteers to get involved with Team UPside's work as their support is invaluable! - Sign up to be a general volunteer 

What will be Team UPside's focus in 2021?

  • CommunityTeam UPside began as a community organisation in Havelock Estate, Southall. In 2021, Team UPside will continue to provide essential support to young people in the Southall community. Our long-term mission is to facilitate the development of a network of community organisations that can empower young people in all local communities around the country (and world!). 
  • Schools - In 2020, Team UPside delivered its first school workshop to over 200 sixth form students at Hammersmith Academy. In 2021, we aim to expand this initiative and deliver many more (online/in-person) workshops/presentations to students across the country. If you would be interested in having Team UPside deliver a presentation or workshop at your school or local youth centre - please get in contact with us via email:
  • Online - Team UPside's target audience are young people aged 14-18 from less-advantaged socio-economic backgrounds. Online platforms act as an essential entry-point for us to reach our audience. Especially in this "post-Covid era", we will continue to deliver valuable online projects that help young people achieve their full potential!
  • Sponsorship - Team UPside's services will always be free of charge. In 2021, we will work on gaining access to funding in order to invest in improving the quality and impact of our work. If you are passionate about increasing social mobility and interested in providing Team UPside with financial support - please get in contact with us via email:
  • Communications - In Team UPside's weekly newsletter, we compile the most valuable articles, podcasts and opportunities from the week to share with our mailing list of over 500 young people. Additionally, through our email help-desk service, we provide educational and career advice free of charge, via email. In 2021, both services will be expanded to reach and benefit as many young people as possible.

Thank you for taking the time to read Team UPside's 2020 review. Please get in touch with us and share your thoughts, ideas, feedback on how we can better achieve our mission of: tackling information-gaps, opportunity-gaps, and mentorship-gaps in society, so young people from less-advantaged backgrounds can achieve their full potential.

Happy New Year!

Sulaiman Iqbal

Founder & Chairman of Team UPside