Senscot Bulletin 01.10.10

Dear members and friends,

 Although I had to vacate the holiday cottage by noon, the flight home from Spain was an evening one – so I planned to spend my last day sightseeing in Malaga city.  But as I drive west, the day gets very hot (84°) – so I change my mind – turn off to a beach restaurant – get settled on a lounger with my book – the aroma of woodsmoke and sizzling sardines – a wee doze before lunch.
 I’m wakened by four stunning young Spanish women – mid twenties – occupying the loungers just in front of me – unpacking towels and kit for serious sunbathing.  As they start to undress, something about their body language is unusual – at once self assured – but also somehow detached; my guess is that these girls are professional lap dancers or the like.  Each of them strips naked (except for a thong) and they start oiling each other; they know exactly what they’re doing – every movement a performance.  I hear some tut- tutting from ‘respectable’ people nearby – but I don’t mind at all – thoroughly enjoy it – probably with a big grin on my face – sight seeing after all.  The darkest of the girls (Spanish Caribbean?) has a beautiful laugh – full of joy.  For all the splendid body parts on display, what I’m left with from this incident is a sense of that girl’s happiness; and the sunlight, of course – everything bathed in the purist sunlight.

New research published this week about how many social enterprises there are in the UK – takes a far more realistic approach, closer to the experience of Senscot.  Simon Teasdale – on behalf of Third Sector Research Centre – says that almost 90% of the 62,000 businesses identified as social enterprises in English Govt. estimates, should not be considered Third Sector organisations because they have no asset lock to prevent the distribution of profits.  A more accurate figure he says is probably nearer 16,000.
There are voices of influence within the social enterprise community (particularly in England) that want to open the doors wide – in order to accelerate (and exaggerate) the size of our sector. This probably suits the English Govt which is looking to shoehorn chunks of the public sector into our movement.  Senscot takes a different view – that the term social enterprise has a specific meaning – embedded in the values of the Third Sector; for the term to retain any value, its boundaries with the public and private sectors need to clearly defined.  Earlier this year, Senscot collated, with others, 5 criteria that could define social enterprise in Scotland. See here,

Still on the subject of defining social enterprise Alan Kay (Community Business Network Scotland) has written a short paper which takes a fresh look at impacts.  He speaks of the key role of social enterprise in challenging the dominant culture of exploitative, high growth business – towards a fairer way of exchanging good and services for the benefit of all.  He calls this cultural impact – and invites comments from bulletin readers.  I think he’s onto something.

A new study published this week claims that social impact measurement will continue to grow in importance, but that the tools presently available – like SROI – are too complex and too expensive.  New, simpler more accessible tools are required within reach of charities with limited resources.

Senscot is a supporter of the campaign for a Living Wage – which is now set at £7.15 per hour.  It was encouraging to hear from the Labour Party conference, that both Iain Gray and Ed Miliband will promote the campaign if Labour regains power in Scotland and England.

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See . This week: 
JOBS: Ecole Ecole Enterprise, SKS Scotland CIC, The Glendale Trust, FAIR Limited, The Scottish Fair Trade Forum, Gift Street Fundraisers (Glasgow & Edinburgh), Comas, The Preshal Trust
EVENTS: BSL taster sessions, 7 Oct; Hatches, Matches and Dispatches, 19 Oct; Scotland’s National Community Energy Conference, 26 Oct; Good Deals 2010: The UK Social Investment Conference, 16 Nov
TENDERS: Historic Scotland, Glen Oaks Housing Association, Stirling Council, Orkney Islands Council, Highland Council, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Reactive Maintenance Service, Fife Council

NETWORKS 1st:  Vital Stats surveys have now been completed for two further SENs – Edinburgh and Clackmannanshire. Again, the Stats show increasing trading levels, significant community assets as well as a range of employment, trainee and volunteering opportunities – all reflecting the contribution the social enterprise community is making within their respective areas. The four SENs surveyed (36 orgs to date) are generating an average of 88% of their turnover through trading.  15 organisations are 100% self sustaining i.e. free from grants to support their core activity.  We expect results from four more SENs in the coming weeks. See latest results,
For more Networks News, see

Social Enterprise London has created a web based guide advising public sector workers how they can turn the services they run into social enterprises.  This guide was downloaded by almost 4000 people in its first week of existence. See,
However, there is also significant resistance out there. Within the last week, public sector workers in both Suffolk and Middlesbrough have sought to reject such moves. See

Analysis of a community network covering more than 1000 residents in an area of London, has revealed that the most networked individuals are not whom we assume – the MP or the Councillor – but the postie, the bin collector, the pub quizmaster etc. The Royal Society of the Arts (RSA) – who did this work – claims that this kind of awareness can help the process of building community – I’m sure they’re right; what we’re talking about here is social capital.

Mary Taylor, who recently replaced Jacqui Watt as CEO of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has called for radical change.  "We are like a rusty hulk aground on the rocks – I want to be at the helm of a very different ship."

We know there’s a glut of training courses available across the sector but this one caught our eye. Skills Development Scotland’s Flexible Training Opportunities gives Scottish businesses, including third sector organisations, with under 50 employees, the opportunity to apply for up to £5,000 towards employee training costs. Might be worth a look. See more,

This week’s bulletin profiles LarderBytes e-shopping site operated by CFINE in the north east. The site allows you to order, pay online and have your food shopping delivered to home or workplace free of charge. They also operate a carbon calculator which calculates the carbon emissions you have saved by shopping on LarderBytes – for every tonne, you will get a £50 dividend – a credit to spend at Xmas. See more,

This is Seamus Heaney reflecting on funerals in an interview.  It was Heaney’s respect forl Czeslaw Milosz which introduced me to his poetry. 

"Going to funerals is so much part of the culture that formed me, part of the ethic of respect.  I think death is an appropriate moment for ceremony – when you want a stand taken against nothingness and a word spoken – rather like the one spoken in Milosz’s poem Meaning – ‘a word that runs through interstellar fields – through revolving galaxies – and calls out, protests, screams’.  Then the coffin carried down the aisle, the same as the funeral last week and last year and last century – a prayer said at the graveside and then local men shovelling in the mould."  Here is Milosz’s beautiful poem, Meaning.

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

Best wishes,


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