Senscot Bulletin: 01.08.14

Dear members and friends,

            For mysterious reasons, my telephone landline went dead recently; without a mobile – no calls or internet for 3 days; the effect of being ‘cut off’ was more disturbing than I could have imagined.  For years I’ve observed friends clearly addicted to their mobile phones; smugly, I made no connection to myself; I now know I’m hooked.
            A great deal of negative speculation circulates about the long term effect on our kids of mobile telephones.  Some say that the neural pathways of their brains are being changed; that they will grow up without interpersonal skills; their brains ‘Google adapted’ to scan and skim – at the expense of considered judgement…  All generations tend to think themselves special – but I’m not convinced; “There is nothing new under the sun” was written in the book of Ecclesiastes in 950 BC; this is more or less my position – that the essential human characteristics are unchanging.
            The poet William Blake distinguished between the ‘here and now’ and the eternal; between the mundane and the infinite.  The human need for connection, relationship, intimacy is surely eternal; the tools we use to get there will continue to change over time.  In Blake’s terms, the tools are mundane – so I have no anxiety that the internet is changing the evolution of our species. But if the world wide web can survive as a ‘commons’ – free from the clutches of the tiny elite who own everything else – then I believe it can be the saving of world wide democracy. 


In its Briefings newsletter this week – the Scottish Community Alliance raises the important issue of how the independence of our sector can be compromised by lucrative government contracts.  Reference is made to England – where some say that third sector intermediaries are implementing UK Government policies they previously opposed.  See,  The Scottish Govt. is not shy about its overarching vision – sustainable economic development; it also makes clear, that its generous support for our work, is driven by its public sector reform agenda.  Neither of these are objectionable aims; but nor are they the reasons why most of us chose the third sector.  It does no harm to touch base occasionally with William Beveridge’s 1948 definition of what our sector is about: “action undertaken by citizens not under the directions of any authority wielding the power of the state.”  Beveridge said that the vigour and abundance of such action is one of the distinguishing marks of a free society.  See,


Part of the discussion about third sector independence is the issue of whether ‘umbrella’ bodies – which purport to represent and support their members – should themselves bid for public sector contracts.  Firstly, they will often be bidding against their own members; secondly, they will be compromised in challenging the commissioning body on behalf of members.  An interesting model is being developed among the Italian social co-operative movement.  A regional umbrella (like our SENs) – assists the formation of consortia among its members and brokers contract tendering; in this way it empowers, not itself, but its members. 



On this same theme, Senscot and Social Firms Scotland will have a ‘Procurement and Partnership Officer’ in place later this month – to provide a brokering service to assist SEs looking to bid for public sector contracts. The role will be to provide practical support to social enterprises in identifying and responding to emerging tender opportunities, including facilitating social enterprise partnerships and consortia development. This position is being supported by Scottish Govt and will run, initially, for a twelve month period.  See, . For further info, contact


This 3 and a half minute video satirises the history of divine claims to Palestine down the ages
and the resulting slaughter; no comment necessary. See,


NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:

JOBS: East Ayrshire Women’s Aid, Ochil Leisure Enterprises, Turning Point Scotland, Life Changes Trust, Oban Phoenix, The Church of Scotland, WorkingRite, RAMH, Ladywood Leisure Centre
EVENTS: Trash to Treasure, 2 Aug; Portobello Market, 2 Aug; Dream Time, 7 Aug; Those Were The Days, 8 Aug; INSP Conference 2014, 12 Aug; Review Writing, 15 Aug;
TENDERS: Training Initiative Programme – Fresh Start, Future Support and Advice to Rural Communities – Scottish Government and Medium Value Construction Projects – The Common Services Agency (more commonly known as NHS National Services Scotland).


The SENs Weekly Update; Kim writes: The emerging Health and Social Care Partnerships are to get an additional £100m next year to help integrate services and make sure money is directed to community and third sector preventative services. The Scottish Government has written to local Partnerships to established how the Integrated Care Fund is to be distributed, and stressing the role of the third sector in delivering services fit for the future. The money will be available to Partnerships following the end of the £300m Reshaping Care for Older People Change Fund, which concludes in April 2015. We will be in touch soon to co-ordinate how SEN members can best engage in this process. See full Guidance for Local Partnerships. For further questions, please contact

For more SENs News, see


Lifted this week by the story of 13 year old Erraid Davies – and by her beautiful smile.  We also got a glimpse of her coach, Lorraine Gifford – beside her tiny pool in Brae, Shetland ( Made me think of the thousands of anonymous sports coaches around the country; the jamboree has been enjoyable for us all – but their dedication is the real legacy. See,


The scandal around the rigged funding for Big Society Network is well and truly busted; Lisa Nandy, the Shadow Minister for Civil Society, has demanded answers from David Cameron. Governments funding their pet projects is hardly unusual; but don’t use channels which are regulated to be open, equitable and transparent. See,


Someone forwarded a blog – posted on the Lottery site – by Ian Cooke of DTA Scotland – about the changing face of community capacity building. Gone are the days, he says, when this is something done ‘to’ communities by Community Development professionals and the like. He calls for a new emphasis on anchor organisations – employing their own development staff; for peer support programmes and visits between communities. Folk doing it for themselves. See,


You will be get a flavour of ‘communities doing for themselves’ at DTA Scotland’s annual conference on 31st Aug/1st Sept at the Westerwood Hotel, Cumbernauld. The theme this year is ‘Our Communities – Our Future’. Don’t leave it too late – only about 30 places left. Key note speakers include Bernadette Devlin McAliskey amongst others. For bookings and programme, see


This week’s bulletin profiles an enterprise, based in Paisley, which delivers physical activity, community sport and health and wellbeing classes and programmes for the local community. Active Communities, set up in 2003 under the name of Jogging Buddies, changed its name in 2010 to better reflect the range of work undertaken in local communities. Whilst based in Paisley, it works throughout Renfrewshire and also in other surrounding local authority areas. As well as physical activity programmes, Active Communities also runs programmes in personnel development; training and recruitment; and community consultation.

For more, see


The tone of Ecclesiastes is world weary – a resigned melancholy – but some beautiful passages.

“A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever: The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises…. All streams run into the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow; there they flow again… What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already in the ages before us. There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be – among those who come after.”

‘There Is Nothing New Under The Sun’ – Ecclesiastes 1:4-11. 

That’s all for this week.     

Best wishes,



Subscribe to this bulletin:

To unsubscribe or change subscription address/ e-mail