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Outside The Box 2019 – our best bits

Posted December 20th 2019 by Outside The Box

It’s been an amazing year for Outside The Box. We welcomed some fabulous new staff members: Ruth W, Chris G, Heather, Liz, Derek, Angela and Fi. And the Outside The Box family has grown even bigger with the birth of the two youngest team members!

We opened up our office in Dunkeld, where Support Choices is now based with a fantastic new team in place providing essential support.

We’ve seen Community Connections, Garden Buddies, Denny Dementia Cafe, and Families impacted by criminal Justice System projects all get going. Rural Wisdom which works with older people in rural communities has spread into two new areas; Moray and the Scottish Borders. And we launched our Mums Returning to Work website and training.

We produced some useful new resources on

There’s much more to come in the new year when we publish our annual report, but for now, here are a few of our 2019 highlights… 

Celebrating Sisterhood

by Kate Robertson (Community Development Advisor)

In June of this year we supported the Moments of Freedom group (of New Scots women in Clydebank) to hold a ‘Women’s Wellbeing Event’ in Clydebank as part of Refugee Festival Scotland. They received funding from the Scottish Refugee Council which enabled them to book a bigger venue and connect with more women from Clydebank and across Scotland. The event itself was fantastic, with belly-dancing, yoga and relaxation, lots of good conversation and plenty of laughter. Check out the photos here. 

It stands out as a highlight because of what the event symbolised – women celebrating their strength and resilience, together working towards a brighter future for themselves and others around them. When thinking about the group and their events the phrase ‘sisterhood’ springs to mind. I looked up the dictionary definition;
‘Sisterhood (noun) – a strong feeling of friendship and support among women who are involved in action to improve women’s rights.’ 
It’s a privilege to work alongside, and learn from the women in the group.

Getting Outdoors with Life Changes Trust funded projects

by Louise Willson (Community Development Advisor)

 

I’m so proud to be part of evaluation work checking out a range of projects working with people with dementia and family carers encouraging and supporting people to enjoy and spend time outdoors more. We were appointed evaluators of Life Changes Trust ‘Get Outdoors’ programme which funds six different projects to encourage people living with dementia and their carers to benefit from being outside.

It’s a privilege to visit and participate in these projects and talk to so many people about the impact it has on their lives.  So often we can see the joy and the fun that people have from these projects, and this includes, people with dementia, their carers,  local volunteers and staff.

Hearing and sharing stories from people living with dementia and their carers about the impact being outside has on their day today lives and on their mental health and wellbeing.  By sharing the stories we will be able to show the difference it makes to people and will offer ideas and best ways of working for people working with people with dementia.

 

A “Permission to Dream” come true

by Ania Sandland (Community Development Advisor)

Our Permission to Dream project has been a highlight of my year. We have been working with two groups of people with mental health challenges on building peer support to allow them to make their lives better.

We meet every week for a chat and some cake and sometimes we put on events to which the wider community can come. We had a swish party – where people brought clothes and accessories they no longer wanted and exchanged them with others, and a craft swap – where people swapped craft resources and materials. We also do some relaxation, pampering and craft activities – whatever the group decides. But everyone agrees that it’s the spending time together talking that’s the most important part.

The support form the group has given people increased confidence and new ways of coping with challenges. The weekly sessions have offered the participants a chance to relax, share and feel part of something. It’s been great to hear some lovely feedback:

“I would never have had the confidence to do this if it was not for the support I feel from the group.”

“The group makes me feel uplifted and like I am a part of something. I’ve lost that feeling since I stopped working a few years ago and now I’ve got it back.”

“This group is like a gift from the universe. It’s quiet, nice, you can be relaxed.”

 

Helping to Make Workplaces More ‘Mum-Friendly’

by Rhiannon Davies (Communications Coordinator)

There’s so much to choose from this year, but I think I’m most proud of working on the Mums Returning to Work project to help build a website and online training tool for both employers and employees to learn about maternity rights and best practice. We attended the brilliant Pregnant Then Screwed conference in Manchester where we met inspiring women with stories which highlighted how important this work is.

We worked closely with Rosie McIntosh from Third Sector Lab to develop animated stories that illustrate real life scenarios that mums face. And we launched the website: mumsreturningtowork.org

We piloted the training with two fantastic nurseries who became the first workplaces in Scotland to receive our ‘Mum Friendly Workplace’ tick. And we got media coverage in the Evening Times, Daily Record, Glasgow Live and CommonSpace. We’re now working on developing our training tools, guides and bespoke in person training even further.

And finding out that I’m going to be a mum next year, makes it all the more meaningful to me!

 

We can’t wait to see what 2020 brings, but for now, all we have left to say is….

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Outside the Box is a certified living wage employer