Senscot Bulletin: 01.08.08

Dear members and friends,

A friend is off on a world tour – China, India, Africa – 6 weeks – 6 grand.  I smile encouragement, but in truth you couldn’t pay me to take his place.  I’ve reached the age when the pleasure of travel is much less than the pain – of inoculations, airports, jet lag, humidity, dodgy food – they’ve got snakes that kill you!  The time comes when we are content to settle somewhere – to make it secure, comfortable, personal.  It means a lot to me to be in ‘my own bit’ – my bed, pillow, shower, coffee machine, cup.  My PC, radio, books, pictures – all my familiar stuff.  And people know me here – the Garden Centre – the Health Centre – the shops, especially the chemist.  If I want company, I know the watering holes where old cronies will be telling stories – I even know the stories.  I have no inclination to travel.
 If I get over stimulated now, I lose touch with myself – so I consciously try to slow things down – a shift from ‘getting it done’ – to being more aware of the doing of it. Sitting outside this evening – watching the end of the day – warm but overcast – two boys kick a football – thump, pause, thump – comforting.  This table – writing pad – myself – the swallows.  I look at this pencil, as if for the first time – a kind of disinterested contemplation – the world moves away – like watching through a reversed telescope –  I am just one thing among many things – quite still – attentive to what I may write – or not.

When Glasgow City Council’s housing stock was transferred on block to Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) in 2003 – it was on the express understanding that there would be a stage of secondary transfer to around 50 locally controlled housing associations.  In an article in today’s Regeneration and Renewal – Jim Sneddon , executive director of regeneration at GHA, is reported to have said that in his view no more than a quarter of houses under their management will be transferred to local housing Associations.  He says ”If you improve the service its not surprising that the appetite to change landlords will evaporate.’ In my opinion, the GHA affair symbolises one of the most important political issues of our times – whether power will be retained centrally in Scotland, or whether it will be dispersed wherever practicable to local communities. The SNP administration seems reluctant to make its position clear on community empowerment – but as the months pass, I`m less hopeful that they consider it a priority.

A Glasgow based Enterprise Trust, called the GO Group, has re-launched the John Logie Baird Awards – for innovation in business in Scotland.  The closing date for this round of applications is September 15 – and there is a special category for the Third Sector.  Their website runs the Venture Navigator (state of the art) on- line business services – great self assessment tools.  Check it out.

The Big Lottery fund ”Growing Community Assets” programme requires, as a condition of grant, that the community owns the funded asset.  The recent decision of Glasgow City Council to amend its policy to accommodate this requirement is to be commended.  The decision has been commented on south of the border. Here is Glasgow City Council`s committee report on the issue.

When is a social enterprise not a social enterprise – should there be an official kite mark? – formal registration ? – are some organisations exploiting this confusion? – is there a risk of contamination from imitators? This debate keeps coming back. This piece in Third Sector talks to some of the experts
In a similar vein, the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), has published a paper aimed at finding common agreement on the language used to describe social enterprises. Their paper outlines three different business models of social enterprise. For more, see

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but submit jobs and events and we’ll post them on our site. See This week: 
JOBS: incl. posts with: Edinburgh Cyrenians, Glasgow Wood Recycling,  Falkirk Homeless Project, The Scottish Government, Abertay University, Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges, Contract opportunity from Scottish Government, Tender specification from SCVO
EVENTS: Football and Regeneration – A place for community football?, 20 Aug, Kilmarnock; More Than Furniture 08 – Bigger, Better, Bolder, 27 Aug, Glasgow, Master Composter Training, Sep, Edinburgh; Social Enterprise World Forum, 5 Sep, Edinburgh; Learning Without Limits, 12 Sep, Angus;

NETWORKS 1st: Clackmannanshire Social Enterprise Network has successfully secured 2 sponsored places for the Social Enterprise World Forum from their Local Social Economy Partnership. This will enable the Network to have at least 4 members of the Network attending the event. For those thinking of going, a couple of highlights from the inaugural Social Enterprise World Forum include Sophi Tranchell – Divine Chocolate, the 2007 Social Enterprise of the Year in the UK, and Thorkil Sonne, of Specialisterne Denmark (‘probably the best social enterprise in the world’). For more,

Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Harry Burns, will deliver the SURF annual lecture on the afternoon of August 28th in Edinburgh. He will speak about ”the biological consequences of deprivation” – how research in both psychology and neuroscience underline the importance of our earliest experiences

”Co-production” is a really bad name – for a very powerful and radical idea. For this reason the New Economics Foundation (NEF) has just produced a pamphlet ”Co production: a manifesto for growing the core economy”. I am an enthusiastic fan of Edgar Cahn’s thinking about rebuilding neighbour support networks. This is the future folks!

One of Scotland’s most successful social enterprises – the Aberdeen Foyer – has purchased a half share in Roadwise Driver Training – a private sector company. Senscot is not aware of any similar partnerships – may this be the first of many

There are still two million people without bank accounts in the UK and a report from the New Economics Foundation (NEF) recommends that the granting of a banking license to the Post Office Network would help the unbanked – as well as help save our post offices.  They cite the example of the successful New Zealand Kiwibank – a subsidiary of New Zealand Post – whose fees are lower than other banks.
For more, see

This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise being run by pupils at Stonelaw High School in Rutherglen. Stonelaw Fair Traders started as a tuck shop four years ago and has now managed to generate a turnover in excess of £62,000. As recent winners of an Upstart award as well a `Social Enterprise Schools` Award, Stonelaw has ensured that profits from their enterprise are invested into providing better facilities for AIDS orphans in the province of Kwazulu Natal in eastern South Africa. For more, see

‘Within limits of normality, every individual loves himself.  In cases where he has deformity or abnormality or develops it later, his own aesthetic sense revolts and he develops a sort of disgust towards himself.  Though with time he becomes reconciled to his deformities, it is only at the conscious level.  His sub-conscious mind, which continues to bear the mark of injury, brings about certain changes in his whole personality, making him suspicious of society’.

K.V. Wardekar in a pamphlet on leprosy

That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures

Best wishes,

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