Senscot Bulletin: 01-09-2006

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Dear members and friends,

Last Sunday we went a run to Elie in Fife and had fish and chips at the Ship Inn.  A formal game of cricket was underway on the beach – spectacular light – spectators drinking beer – howzat?  Altogether the scene was very nostalgic – very John Betjeman, whose centenary has been celebrated recently.  I’ve bought his book ‘Summoned by Bells’ and am enjoying his quiet voice.  Particularly like his reference to God as ‘The Management’.
 For myself I’ve had a bleak week – with little sign of ‘management’ influence.  By coincidence several friends are going through painful break-ups, which is sad.  When I was young I thought there was only one story – which I owned.  That I could create my own tiny happiness and live within it.  But if we have friends we share many overlapping stories which contain both joy and distress.  I am reconciled that there is no solution to the problems at the heart of life – that all emotional attachments are transitory.  It is our human lot to try and fail.  Finally it is only compassion which gets our shoes on in the morning and sends us out for a loaf of bread.  Only compassion which finds beauty in the sad – hope in the midst of loss – and dignity in failure.  This is our final freedom.

We, the citizens of Scotland who are paying for it, were told that the Glasgow Housing Association was to be a provisional mechanism – to effect the transfer of housing stock to community housing associations. We have received several ‘unequivocal’ assurances from the minister that secondary stage transfer is an ‘absolute commitment’. Can anyone explain why it’s now three years into this process and not a single house has been transferred. Civil servants I ask look embarrassed and say it’s ‘very complex’.
 Now the building frustration of twelve Glasgow community housing associations has caused them to break from their federation (SFHA) which they claim is not doing enough to push this issue. Senscot has said before that there is something smelly about this scenario. Massive vested interests are covertly active to keep this housing empire intact. Should we not be asking our politicians what the hell is going on?

The Commission for Unclaimed Assets (CUA) has proposed the creation of a new Social Investment Bank to stimulate enterprise and wealth creation in our poorest communities.  They propose to achieve this through Third Sector activity and if the Chancellor buys this, it could mean massive investment where it is most needed.
 To examine the implications of this proposal and what it might look like in Scotland, Senscot, jointly with the CUA and SCVO, will host a meeting on October 20 at the Trades Hall in Glasgow from 10–12 noon.  We’re limited to 100 places and there is no charge. If you’re interested, contact

On October 3rd, Senscot is co-hosting a conference with the Scottish Forum for Public Health on growing opportunities for social enterprises. The event takes place at Baptist Church Conference Centre in Stirling and is of relevance to a whole range of social enterprises. Public Health is defined as the health or physical well-being of a whole community. This includes the likes of cultural enterprises, community food initiatives, recycling and housing organisations. It will provide a tremendous opportunity for social enterprises to introduce themselves to health professionals and statutory bodies with the possibilities of contracts developing further down the line. If you’re interested in attending, see

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but submit jobs ( or events ( and we’ll post them on our site. This week:

JOBS: 32 vacancies, incl. posts with: Community Enterprise in Strathclyde, Edinburgh Development Group, Beluah Scotland, Centre for Social & Entrepreneurial Activities, SCVO, Emmaus, Inclusion Alliance.

EVENTS: 33 events, incl. Developing Social Enterprise, ½ day event, Paisley, 26 Sept; Social Enterprise and Health Improvement, Stirling, 3 Oct; Marketing Workshop, 10 Oct, Castle Douglas; How to Win Contracts, Edinb., 12 Oct; Step by Step Guide to Business Planning for Your Social Enterprise, 28-29 Nov, Edinb.;

If you’re looking for a place to take the kids on Sunday, check out the Craigencalt Ecology Centre Summer Festival at Kinghorn in Fife:

Edward Harkins brings our attention to an article in Wednesday’s Scotsman that raises important questions for social enterprises seeking to win public sector contracts, and the problems they may face.

Last week, we mentioned Ekos’s evaluation of Futurebuilders. As part of the process, they are also looking for feedback from anyone with knowledge or experience of the procurement guide.  Closing date for views is Friday 15th September.

Senscot is picking up some unrest from social enterprise organisations which are being turned away by the Lottery’s ‘Growing Community Assets’ investment fund. For the sake of clarity, ‘community’ is intended to mean a geographical place, and applicants will need to show that initiatives are ‘community-led’ and community-controlled’. In addition, there is some provision for ‘communities of interest’ which are: led and controlled by members; able to demonstrate wider community support; within one local authority area. This emphasis on place will bring a much needed boost to Scotland’s undernourished community sector. There will be other investment streams more appropriate for social enterprises.

With over 3000 branches across food, funeral, insurance, pharmacy and bank outlets – The Cooperative is the sleeping giant among UK consumer societies.  Last week it announced a £100 million revamp of its brand with the target of increasing membership from 600,000 to 4 million by 2010.

This week’s bulletin profiles a development trust that has helped to create 30 full-time jobs in their community. The Nadair Trust, based in Oban, was set up in 2000 with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund. Its objectives have been to work with the local communities throughout the Argyll Islands to deliver heritage projects. As well as creating numerous employment opportunities, the Trust has also been responsible for bringing in nearly £500,000 additional income to the area. In an effort to ensure the long term sustainability of the Trust, a trading arm has been established this year. Nadair Support Services will provide services to local communities and income generated through these activities will go to support the Trust’s charitable activities. For further info, see

A quote from Joseph Campbell ‘There is an important idea in Nietzsche, of ‘Amor fati’, the ‘love of your fate,’ which is in fact your life.  As he says, if you say no to a single factor in your life, you have unravelled the whole thing.  Furthermore, the more challenging or threatening the situation or context to be assimilated and affirmed, the greater the stature of the person who can achieve it.  The demon that you can swallow gives you its power, and the greater life’s pain, the greater life’s reply.  You yourself are the creator.  If you find that place in yourself from which you brought this thing about you, you will be able to live with it and affirm it, as your life.’

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

Best wishes,

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