OUTSIDE the Box celebrated its fifth birthday with over 150 people attending the party event at the Kings Hall and Winter Gardens.

Run by local charity Ilkley Community Enterprise, Outside the Box was launched in June 2013 with the opening of its community café on Bridge Lane. Providing support, work experience and training to people with learning disabilities, Outside the Box has become a successful community business and an established part of the local townscape.

“We were delighted to be joined by so many of our members, their families, our volunteers, staff, local partner organisations and supporters to mark our fifth anniversary,” said Jenna Peel, Outside the Box manager. “A great night was had by all and we are still getting lots of great feedback from people who came to the event.”

The event included a showing of the recent BBC Sunday Live film about the work of Outside the Box and exhibitions of some of the work produced by members attending the range of creative workshops run by the charity. Mr Graham Smith, chairman of Ilkley Community Enterprise, gave an overview of the history and achievements of Outside the Box highlighting the winning of two Ilkley Business Forum Awards, helping 30 members to achieve qualifications and providing support to almost 60 people with learning disabilities each week.

“We certainly had lots to celebrate as we have grown considerably over the last five years. Not only have we developed a popular and valued community café, we have also established new services including our OTB Choices and OTB Works initiatives, providing more opportunities for people with learning disabilities. As a result of this growth and the charity’s expansion, we have created many jobs for local people and are now a significant local employer in our own right,” added Mr Smith. “We know however that people with learning disabilities still face lots of challenges in their lives and we are committed to doing more both for them and our local community as a whole. Our success so far means that we are in a strong position to the able to further expand and improve our services and we look forward to celebrating even more achievements in future”.