Senscot Bulletin 01-08-2003



Dear members and friends,


At this time of year we get messages from folk on their
hols.  Susan e-mails from Kos, “Scott
broke his tooth on swimming pool steps – it needs fixed.  Sole dentist for these parts is young girl,
trained in Athens – wee practice in Kefalos village – no receptionist/nurse –
does it all herself.  She works on
Scott’s tooth for over an hour – it’s like watching an artist – not satisfied
‘til she’s created something perfect. 
She reminds me of the satisfaction of putting our heart and soul into
what we do.  Makes me question my own
attitude to work.  A perfect tooth on a
little Greek island – cost £15.”

            Whenever I
hear uplifting human anecdotes like this I wonder whether I myself would become
less crabbit if I moved to a place like Kefalos.  We all know folk who have transplanted to blue skies – done a
‘Shirley Valentine’ – but with mixed results. 
It seems to depend on the individual. 
Perhaps this Grecian dentist with soul could bring sunshine to Rannoch
Moor in January.  Perhaps from a villa
overlooking the Amalfi coast, I’d still be crabbit.  I’d like to give it a try though.

member e-mails from Sicily, “Read your piece about visit to Buddhist
teacher.  You’re not a Buddhist – you’re
a bullsh***er – but you’re not a bad one.” 
This remark puts me in a huff – which suggests he’s right.  Proper Buddhists don’t do huffs.



Everyone accepts that Gordon Brown is operating an
unofficial programme of wealth distribution through indirect taxation – but in
spite of this, a new study last week, ‘The European futures Report’, informs us
the gap between the affluent south of England and the poorer north will widen
again.  Many argue that modern social
democracies are too deeply entangled with global corporate power and that
governments can no longer shift entrenched inequalities.  Influential American magazine ‘Business
Week’ declared recently that the Bank of Scotland and the Royal Bank of
Scotland are the 1st and 3rd best performing (profitable)
companies in Europe.  As this bulletin
pointed out recently they are also two of the worst offenders in refusing to
disclose what they reinvest in poorer areas of the UK.  The policy of our banking sector contributes
to the widening of the poverty gap.  Is
it not time for a Community Reinvestment Act?



As social entrepreneurship and social enterprise move closer
to mainstream economic activity so it becomes more important to agree what
these terms mean.  Via Chris Dabbs (one
of the UK’s best networkers in our sector) we have posted a paper this week from
two very experienced American practitioners: Jerr Boschee and Jim McClurg (  They argue that the concept of social
entrepreneurship should be synonymous with ‘earned income strategies’.  “A social entrepreneur is any person, in any
sector, who uses earned income strategies to pursue a social objective – unless
a non profit organisation is generating earned revenue from its activities it
is not acting in an entrepreneurial manner”.

A second paper discussing the
‘childcare market place’ would contradict their assertion. Rosemary Milne of
the One Stop Childcare Project in Wester Hailes argues that the use of the
private sector model as the benchmark of ‘a successful childcare project’
seriously undermines the operation of voluntary sector provision and is
damaging ‘One Stop’.  Many Senscot
members who work in frontline projects are aware of the additional benefits
locally owned community enterprises can deliver.  Rosemary is trying to get this issue discussed.  (



Barbara Wallace who is director of London social enterprise
Stepney Works wrote in her article in last week’s Regeneration magazine,
“Present policy is geared to the premise that social enterprises can primarily
access advice and support from traditional business sources.  For many groups this is not acceptable.  Bespoke support is increasingly sought from
within the sector, with its specialist knowledge and expertise”.  Senscot has been discussing this very issue
for some months and we’re currently developing our ideas for connecting-up new
enterprises with experienced practitioner supporters. (



YELLOW PAGES: Space constraints mean we can’t carry every
notice you send. But please send in any relevant items and we’ll post it on our
site (Send in your items to
This week:


Jobs: 32 vacancies, including posts at The Poverty Alliance,
Colinton Community Compost, Lochaber Environmental Group, Shelter Scotland,
Re:solution, and People First Scotland.


Info Bank:  Scottish
Community Foundation, collection of essays “Innovation in Public services”.


Events: Coalfields Regeneration Trust Best Practice Awards
(entry deadline 22 August), CBS Scotland social audit taster seminars 3rd
& 4th Sept; Earthship Fife completion volunteering activity,
16-31 Aug. Volunteer Development Scotland: “Partners in Volunteering” Awards
(entry deadline 26 Sept); ‘How to build successful social enterprises’
conference, Heriot Watt, Edinburgh, Oct 16 2003.


For details on these and more:



This week, our project profile is on Furniture Plus Ltd, a
social enterprise located in Dysart but servicing nearly all of Fife.
Established early in 2002, Furniture Plus Ltd is now providing help to over 150
families per month across Fife. In its first year, it has managed to generate a
turnover of approximately £120,000, turning in a small surplus. This was
achieved without the assistance of any revenue funding. Furniture Plus Ltd
secured a service level agreement with Fife Council to furnish houses allocated
to homeless people in the area. This agreement will be going out to tender
again later in the year and Furniture Plus will be competing to retain the
contract. Since its inception, Furniture Plus Ltd has assisted over 2500
families in the Fife area. Further info:
(‘Project Profiles’)



An article in Sunday’s Herald quoted research by the
organisation, Charity Logistics which found that charities are being
overcharged for insurance cover The Home Office is also concerned about this
situation so clearly a problem exists. (  



Good news from the Scottish Executive this week is the
formation of a short term working party to produce a Scottish version of the
DTI’s Procurement Toolkit.  Designed
specifically for social enterprises interested in bidding for public sector
contracts, work on the toolkit will start right away with a view to a February
launch (



“What matters most is human contact.  The great mystery of making music requires
real friendship among those who work together. 
Every member of the orchestra knows that I am with him and her in my
heart.”  Carlos Maria Giuliani,
Conductor – LA Philarmonic Orchestra, 1978-1984



Astonishingly well acted programme on telly last week about
the poet Philip Larkin.  It focused on
the tension between his need for love and companionship and his need to be
alone.  We met his mother and three
different women – but his main love was probably his writing.  I have long been a fan of Larkinland – a
sometimes bleak and disappointed world – but also hopeful and
compassionate.  The main thing he taught
me was the extraordinariness of ordinary life. 
Most of us don’t live prominent lives but our joys are fully joyful –
our grief is real.  Larkin said profound
and unforgettable things about common experience.  Folk assume that his poems spring from an ‘ordinary’ life.  What they say to me is that there is no such
thing………If you don’t know Larkin, you might like to try this:


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

Best wishes,



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