Families Outside welcomes appointment of new Chair and Vice Chair

Families Outside, Scotland’s only national organisation that works solely on behalf of children and families affected by imprisonment, has welcomed Linda Bendle as its new Chair and David Mackie as its new Vice Chair.

As the only national organisation that works solely with children and families affected by imprisonment, Families Outside supported 1,850 families during financial year 2020/21 through its Support and Information helpline, regional family support and growing group work and peer support service. In addition, the charity works with other organisations on policy and research, campaigns and delivered accredited training to professionals across Scotland.

Families Outside was established by professionals in the justice system and childcare organisations as the Scottish Forum on Prisons and Families in 1991. In 2001, the organisation was reconstituted as Families Outside, with our own constitution and independent Board.

Linda Bendle, who has served on the Families Outside board for three years, brings a wealth of experience from the third sector as well as private business. Linda is Head of Business Development & Operations at Heavy Sound C.I.C., a board member of Community Justice Scotland, and a member of the Shelter Scotland Committee. Linda also has experience of the justice system as a family member.

David Mackie, who is a retired Sheriff, sat on the bench at Alloa Sheriff Court for 15 years. He has a keen interest in supporting families affected by imprisonment having seen at first hand the devastating impact of imprisonment of family members during his time as a Sheriff.

New Chair Linda Bendle said, “I am delighted to be appointed Chair of the Families Outside board. Families Outside is all too often a lifeline for families who come in to contact with the justice system, and every day our small team of staff demonstrates the importance of our services. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge for our organisation and for the families we support. I hope that as we come through the pandemic, we are able to reach out and support even more families across Scotland.”

New Vice-Chair David Mackie said, “I have seen the difference first-hand that Families Outside’s dedicated staff can make for children and families affected by imprisonment across Scotland. As Scotland looks to implement The Promise and incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, I look forward to working with Families Outside to make sure that children’s rights are better reflected across our justice system.”

Chief Executive Professor Nancy Loucks, said, “On behalf of Families Outside, I would like to thank Valerie Macniven and Satwat Rehman for their tireless work on our Board over a number of years and latterly as Chair and Vice-Chair. We are delighted to welcome Linda and David as our new Chair and Vice-Chair. Like many charities across Scotland, we are seeing an increase in need from the families we support against a challenging funding background. I know that Linda and David will be an asset for our organisation and help us grow further to support more families.”

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