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About us

Outside the Box provides development support to groups and people across Scotland who want to make a difference in their communities.

We began in 2004. We are a small, independent charity and aim to work as a social enterprise.

We give practical support and enable people to learn the types of skills that are important both for establishing new ventures and for sustaining them.

We assist people to contribute on issues that are about how their community or how society works – such as when older people want to offer their skills and experience to families and young people – as well as on matters that are specific to their own circumstances.

We encourage people to think of themselves and other people as citizens, rather than as recipients of services or as people who are restricted by a particular description or label.

Over the years have learned about the issues that affect the thousands of people and hundreds of groups with whom we’ve worked and about what sorts of community development support work best in different situations.


The starting point for Outside the Box’s work is our belief that Scotland has too many people who are marginalised and disadvantaged or because of their age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, disability, or because they live in poverty or in an area which has few resources.

As a consequence, individual people do not have the same opportunities and choices that other people enjoy, and the community as a whole is poorer for the loss of those potential contributions.

We believe that people who are marginalised are part of the solution to these problems.

  • Everyone can contribute to their community and to society if they have the right encouragement and support. One of the contributions we all make is our presence.
  • Everyone’s experience and ideas matter.
  • The labels society puts on people do not change the contributions we are all able to make.
  • There are benefits both to individual people, and to our communities, when all people are welcomed and included.
  • Everyone has the right to have access to services and other supports that are relevant to our circumstances and choices, are delivered to high standards, and which treat us and other people with respect.
  • Organisations are better at what they do when they listen to, act on and learn from the views and experiences of the people whom they are there to serve, and when they work in partnership with their communities.
  • Action to make real, sustainable change happen starts from where people are, and works with their strengths, enthusiasms and priorities.
  • We can all get ideas from what other people have done and what has been tried in other places. We can also share what we have learned with other people.
  • Society is stronger when we celebrate each other’s contributions and value our own.

Some of our work is delivered in partnership with the National Development Team for Inclusion.

All of our work involves partnerships with other people and organisations.

Our Team
Our Board
  • Donald Macaskill

    Board Member

    Until April 2016 Donald ran a human rights and equality consultancy working across the health and social care sectors in the United Kingdom. He is now the Chief Executive of Scottish Care, the membership organisation for older people care providers.

  • Pat Scrutton

    Board Member

    With a background in community development; Pat has worked with people with learning disabilities & more recently with older people. She has a particular interest in intergenerational practice & co-ordinates the Intergenerational National Network.

  • Sandra Shafii

    Board Member

    With 30 years of experience as an Occupational Therapist, Sandra has worked in hospital & community settings in adult & older people's mental health & addictions. She now works as a consultant in the field of technology enabled care & dementia.

  • Alan Stevenson

    Board Member

    As Community Link Worker for East Renfrewshire Health & Social Care Partnership, Alan works to develop older people's services & community opportunities. He has held positions within all sectors dealing with Befriending to Intergenerational Practise.

  • Chris Taylor

    Board Member

    Chris has a strong background in social work & community development. In his last two jobs, he started then led the Community Care Services of a Housing Association & a new national organisation, Carr-Gomm Scotland.