Dear members and friends,
My occasional trips to the Metropolis are enriched by increasing fondness for the Bloomsbury area of London – its literary and artistic associations – its colleges and hospitals – its general buzz. I always travel to Russell Sq tube station – stay at Tavistock Hotel (£69 single) – 2 minutes from Marchmont St – which houses all the goodies I require. It’s a proper residential and student neighbourhood with great shops and restaurants.
Down last Saturday for a gathering of the UK’s democratic left – under the banner ‘Building the Good Society’. I want to discern if a new cross party progressive movement is stirring south of the border – I’m looking for inspiration. But 1000 middle class Londoners, in a hall, is very different from Scotland; attentive, informed, but, for a leftist gathering – strangely inhibited. As the day goes on, I lose heart – this is polite conversation – not preparation for battle.
I did a good shift at the conference – 5 hours – but as it gathers for the final session – I rebel – walk out into sunshine – had enough. Browsing in bookshops, I unearth a 1950 edition of Raymond Chandler’s “The Simple Art of Murder” – delighted to give £12 for it. Flop on the grass in Russell Sq with new book – reading this familiar text – Chandler’s voice steadying me. TS Eliot (whose office once overlooked this square) said of books, “They are the still point of a turning world”. I like that. https://twitter.com/#!/Senscot
I’m fond of saying that social enterprise offers a fundamentally different way of organising the world – a new ‘norm’ – business driven by the fulfilment of human need rather than personal enrichment. As our movement evolves – it is fitting to pause, and check the direction of travel. Is social enterprise really changing the world – or is it being changed by the world? As it becomes adopted by the mainstream, are core values being ignored – boundaries blurred? Senscot is considering hosting a half day seminar on this theme – we’re trying to gauge interest. Please ping this tick box to us – https://senscot.net/seminar0611.php
I’m glad I went to London last week to the Compass conference – 1000 punters – very well run; I found it disappointing but probably had unrealistic expectations. I thought that the chair Neal Lawson’s speech was excellent and have attached it. Maurice Glasman (the new Blue Labour guru) is a mumbler, couldn’t hear a word he said. Ed Miliband tried to be inspiring by video link – a creditable near miss. Compass has opened its membership; what is now being attempted is a broad progressive platform – including Greens and Lib Dems, but I fear Labour’s baggage may hold it earth bound. See Neal Lawson’s speech, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11227
The Christie Commission published on Wednesday and will doubtless be talked about for some time. Journalist Ruth Wishart, who sat on the Commission, published this piece in the Herald on Wednesday. She nails, what is for me, one of the central issues: the new imperative to tap into the underutilised skills and energy of communities – to plug the gaps. Wishart says “What came through loud and clear was the success of bottom-up movements like the Community Devpt Trusts.” See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11224
News this week that the Scottish Govt has now signed off the new Community Jobs Scotland Project. The Project is a partnership between our own Coalition and SCVO and involves the creation of 2,000 jobs across 32 Local Authority areas. They are keen to get the ball rolling in August and September, so if you are interested and able to create jobs by Aug/Sept, initial bids have to be in by 12 noon on Friday 8 July 2011. See, http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=11217
My current research into co-housing is uncovering highly motivated groups of people in Scotland who are trying to develop small, affordable housing projects; almost all of them are bogged down for the want of of a few acres. New research into 13 of Scotland’s successful Land Trusts, confirms how the availability of land can unleash the energy and creativity of local communities. Our land reform legislation has done enough to demonstrate that it should be extended. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11234
Pat Kane in a recent blog, called for investment into what the Finns call ‘media-production literacy’ – whereby communities throughout the population are offered the skills to make and disseminate their own video films. https://senscot.net/?viewid=11228 . The potential impact of this democratisation of film media is illustrated by the response to ‘you’ve been trumped’ – of which Mike Nicholson sends this update. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11226
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See http://www.senscot.net/jobsevents.php This week:
JOBS: The Place2Be; Social Enterprise Academy; Migrants Support Services; Aspire2gether; Kinetic; Caledonia Youth; Highland Hospice; Cranstoun Community Development Project;
EVENTS: HR workshop- Hints and tips when recruiting your first employee, 19 Jul; Social Enterprise Notice Event, 27 Jul; Social Capital World Forum 2011, 24 Sep
TENDERS: Care at Home Services for Adults and Older People; Supply of Web Content Management Services; Storage/Collection/Transport/ Reuse or Recycling of Materials; Stress and Anxiety Service in North West Glasgow.
NETWORKS 1st: Colin writes: This week, we attended the SFHA Community Regeneration and Social Enterprise Conference in Stirling. The intention was to look at how Housing Associations can use social enterprise as a model to respond to the looming issues facing communities today, in the context of shrinking public funding, growing levels of poverty, an aging population and a public services infrastructure creaking at the seams. Presentations included Ken Milroy’s (Aberdeen Foyer) ‘What An Age Friendly City Looks Like’ – a particular slant on building resilient communities that can help older people stay at home and be cared for in a supportive environment. Here’s a link to the presentations from the conference. http://www.se-networks.net/shownotice.php?articleid=505 For more Networks News, see http://www.se-networks.net/showbull.php?articleid=197
Earlier this month, Senscot hosted Scotland’s first national Conference on Social Enterprise and Sport in Stirling. See Conference Report and Feedback survey, http://www.senscot.net/view_res.php?viewid=11232
More news of staff movement amongst social enterprise intermediaries – Norman Hill is leaving Firstport. Here’s a message from the Board. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11231
Social Entrepreneurs are too often identified exclusively with social enterprise – but there are as many who don’t set up businesses as do. Jennifer Bruce, from Wick Paths Project, is a long time Senscot subscriber who is currently busy organising the 200th anniversary celebrations of the completion of Telford’s Inner Harbour – Wick. Good luck, Jenny. https://senscot.net/?viewid=11225
Following Colin’s recent visit to Orkney, this week’s bulletin profiles one of the islands` successful social enterprises – The Pickaquoy Centre. Based in Kirkwall, the Centre is Orkney’s largest community and leisure facility and provides a range of sports, health, leisure, arts and learning opportunities that enhance the quality of all sectors of community. As well as housing the UK`s most northerly independent cinema, works are currently underway to develop two swimming pools, squash courts and a new fitness suite with completion due in the spring of 2012. See more, http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=11233
Neal Lawson, Chair of Compass, ended his address at `Building the Good Society` Conference. 25th June’11 thus:
“A great man once said ‘Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.’ It’s not a stopwatch we have, but a compass. We can only build the good society on firm ground, with patience, generosity, optimism and the determination to stick by our principles and take the tough decision. But our time is coming. The current crisis of capitalism is far from played out, as Greece is showing. Global capital needs global rules. But there aren’t any. So the crises will continue. Next there will be a food crisis, then an energy crisis, and ultimately a climate change crisis – unless and until society and people rule over markets and profits.”
That’s all for this week.
Good luck with your adventures
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