Exploring your Community Sector

At Outside the Box we are sharing the Community Solutions report, showing what we have learned around how the collective efforts can reach more people and help people stay well in their own homes and communities.

We used the phrase ’community sector’, and that is prompting some conversations – is this a new bit of jargon with a new definition?

Well, we hope not. It was our shorthand phrase for a wide range of people, groups and organisations, which doesn’t have a neat definition or boundaries. The people we met and heard about included:

· Informal community groups

· Smaller voluntary organisations working in the community

· Bigger voluntary organisations that deliver services – some in one Council/HSCP area and some over several parts of Scotland

· Equalities groups that bring together people who share circumstances or who experience disadvantage

· Social enterprises

· People providing social care – as small providers for a few clients, voluntary organisations and as businesses

· Pharmacies, local shops, pubs and cafes, and lots more.


Some of them were working in partnership with other community- based organisations. Some had services that were partnerships with GP practices and HSCP teams, or other parts of a Council.

Some have been around for many years and have a huge amount of experience. Others started doing things to support their community during Covid, and have kept on adapting what they do and learning.


What they share is not being a part of the formal public sector bodies. They are giving support and services to members of the public, and they complement and improve and extend the services that public bodies are providing.

The other thing the people in our ‘community sector’ share is wanting to make life easier and better for people who live in local places across Scotland, especially people who are older, or disabled, or who face extra challenges.


We hope people explore who is in their ‘community sector’ – as it is probably wider than you think at first.

· It is starting with what makes sense for people who live in a place and need a bit of extra support – Who do we already know? What makes us feel reassured?

· It is asking different questions – What can you bring? Have you got ideas?

· It is finding more ways for people to work together – sharing and learning from each other to increase the resources and choices in each community.