Senscot Bulletin: 01.06.12

Dear members and friends,

           Spent Tuesday and Wednesday last week in London – jings, it’s awful big. Lunch appointment at Carluccio’s Restaurant, Canary Wharf – so I go early (Jubilee Line) and stroll around in warm sunshine. This is a whole different world – a bustling temple to the power of money; architecture, design, artworks, – in your face prosperity; everyone beautifully dressed – shops and restaurants to match anywhere in the world – yet all somehow soulless. Whenever I approach anyone to ask directions – they recoil – some keep walking. People wear determined smiles – but I sense that, for all the sheen, this is a hard world – without mercy – no prisoners.
            Thursday I’m in the grittier environs of St Enoch’s Square, Glasgow – to hear Harry Burns speak about the importance of ‘early years’ for human flourishing; outstanding presentation. Until 30 years ago, he says Glasgow’s health status matched the rest of Europe – but an industrial tsunami devastated West Central Scotland – its people – its communities. Most of our present health deficit can be traced to 4 causes: drugs, alcohol, violence, suicide. Burns is passionate – that these are all things we can – and will – change. Train fare home to Linlithgow is over a tenner – but ticket man spots my OAP bus pass – winks and charges me a fiver. Evidence of real hardship is never far away in Glasgow – but neither are acts of human kindness and solidarity. 


I’m reading Michael Sandel’s book ‘What Money Can’t Buy’ – in which he argues that there are certain moral and civic goods in society that markets do not honour – which should not be for sale. Regular readers will be aware that this is how I regard our third sector – that our values and norms cannot be marketised; that it’s only in the non market realm that human dignity is safeguarded. I like the way Sandel ends his book. See, The other link is to a piece on ‘impact investment’ in the USA by Kevin Starr who directs the Mulago Foundation (check out its amazing portfolio). Kevin believes that social impact bonds and the like – loan investment to combat poverty – has very limited use. “Few solutions that meet the fundamental needs of the poor will get you your money back”. See,


“I believe that it is fundamentally better for us all – if decisions about Scotland’s future are taken by those who care most about Scotland – by our own people.” I have no difficulty with this ‘yes’ campaign launch statement – but it has nothing to do with ‘Braveheart’. I have for several decades been a passionate advocate of the principle of ‘subsidiarity’ – that decisions should be taken at the lowest practical level to those affected by them. Although the SNP (ironically) shows little concern for our missing layer of democracy at community level – the Scottish Community Alliance fortnightly bulletin reports encouraging activity. On the back of its recent report – the Silent Crisis – the Jimmy Reid Foundation is asking community groups to join its call for a commission to look at Scottish local democracy; Senscot will sign up. See,


Scotland has long enjoyed a high international reputation for the development of community based social enterprise; in no small way, this is due to the work – both intellectual and practical – of the late John Pearce. This tribute by friend and colleague Karl Burkholzer profiles John’s contribution Last August, John’s substantial collection of papers and reports was handed over to Glasgow Caledonian University – where a ‘Social Enterprise Collection’ will be housed. This is a letter from Alan Tuffs and Alan Kay on behalf of CBS Network which has launched an appeal to have John’s work sorted and catalogued. See,

Don’t know how you feel about all this Jubilee guff – I feel more or less like Polly Toynbee. See,

Telling bit of research just published by New Philanthropy Capital – about the current commissioning culture; 100 large UK charities (income over £800k) responded. 73% said they are laying off staff; 63% are cutting front line services. I believe that the English Govt’s determination to marketise the social sector is objectionable and unachievable; but by the time they abandon this policy – much damage will have been done. See,


NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  This week:
JOBS: Ladywood Leisure Centre, Grassmarket Community Project, Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living, Greater Pollok Integration Network, Edinburgh Social Enterprise Network, Blake Stevenson Ltd,
EVENTS: Portobello Market day, 2 Jun; Better Business Planning, 12 Jun; SROI Practitioner Training, 14 Jun; Living Balance Launch Event, 22 Jun; Village SOS Live in Scotland, 28 Jun;
TENDERS: Supply of Glass Reprocessing Services in Stirlingshire, Grounds Maintenance Service in Inverclyde, Provision of a Cycle to Work Scheme in Glasgow and Construction of New Social Housing and Office Accommodation in Clacks. For more details, see


NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: This month sees the launch of a new SEN – for Firstport awardees. The new SEN – no name yet – will be supported jointly by Firstport and Senscot with the aim of building a community of social entrepreneurs across Scotland, providing a forum for start up social entrepreneurs to share ideas, experiences and get peer-to-peer support. In time, members will have the opportunity to join local or thematic SENs, as they wish. First meeting takes place on 27th June at the Glasgow Bike Station. For more, contact . For more Networks News, see


Senscot is hosting two events this month. There are still a few places available for both events. First up is the 6th ‘Fit for Purpose: SE and Health Conference’ at Teachers Building in Glasgow, 14th June. See programme and booking, The following week (21st June) in the Trades Hall, Glasgow, the 2nd national ‘SE and Sport Conference’ takes place. Again, for programme and booking, see . Both events are free to attend


With an increasing number of employment cases in recent months, Senscot Legal has decided to host a series of lunchtime seminars during June and July. The seminars (2 hours max) will include topics such as Employment Law Basics; Redundancy/Re-structuring/TUPE; Grievances & Disciplinary Procedures; Employment Tribunals; and Policy & Procedures Review. All the seminars will take place at Senscot Legal’s offices in Bath St, Glasgow. A light lunch will be provided. If you’d like to attend any of the seminars, contact . See details,


Deadline for applications to the SSE/Lloyds Social Entrepreneurs Programme has been extended till Monday 11th June. 17 places are available on the Scottish Programme – for start up SEs as well as those looking to scale up. Programme will start in October 2012. See,


This week’s bulletin re-visits a social enterprise that has experienced significant growth over recent years. Fife SEN member, Furniture Plus Ltd – originally profiled in August 2003 – original remit remains the same – to provide low cost, quality goods and furnishings to low income households in Fife and, at the same time, provide employment and training opportunities to local people. Today, Furniture Plus employs 37 staff, supported by 32 volunteers. Its base in Dysart has doubled in size (20,000 sq ft) and it now has outlets in Cowdenbeath and Inverkeithing. For more, see


I’m old enough to remember when the late Bertrand Russell appeared regularly on the TVs ‘Brains Trust’. Ever since he has embodied for me the appearance and demeanour of ‘the Philosopher’. A well know quote:
            “I should like to say two things, one intellectual and one moral. The intellectual thing I want to say is this: When you are studying any matter, or considering any philosophy, ask yourself only what are the facts and what is the truth that the facts bear out. Never let yourself be diverted either by what you wish to believe, or by what you think would have beneficent social effects if it were believed. The moral thing I wish to say is very simple: Love is wise, hatred is foolish. In this world which is getting more and more closely interconnected, we have to learn to tolerate each other, we have to learn to put up with the fact that some people say things that we don’t like. We can only live together in that way – and if we are to live together and not die together, we must learn a kind of charity and a kind of tolerance, which is absolutely vital to the continuation of human life on this planet.” 
That’s all for this week.


Good luck with your adventures


Best wishes,




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Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210