Senscot Bulletin: 01-10-2004



Dear members and friends,


My pots are disgusting. In TK Max, buying new ones – meet Martin from way back. We played rugby together – in the seconds. Never really liked him – kind of holy Joe, scrubbed, smiling face – radiating goodness. Wouldn’t hear a bad word said against anyone – which makes me behave badly – feel guilty – blame him. ‘How’s it going?’ he smiles. ‘Oh, getting older I suppose, Martin – thoughts, now, of death – the endgame.’ ‘You spoke about death and the endgame in your 30s,’ he laughs. Manage to smile, thinking: ‘Nothing changes – still don’t like the cheery b——.’

            I kept a journal from 1982-1992 – the same decade I was trying to win the Scottish brandy-drinking championship. Much of the scribbling is drunk – but can’t quite throw it out – sort of continuity with lost time. The sober bits record the themes in my life – year on year – same themes as now. It’s sad how slowly we move on – if at all. Insights are gained and lost – gained and lost. Wisdom is so gradual. T S Eliot’s metaphor of a spiral staircase – round and round – repeating the same mistakes – gradually up from darkness.

            ‘How about yourself,’ I ask. ‘How’s it been.’ ‘Margot died three years ago,’ he says – tears in his eyes – then I see how he is – that this man is suffering – not coping. We go for coffee – for two hours – two old team mates – each listening – respectful.



We understand that Paul Zealey Associates are helping the Social Economy Unit to draft the Futurebuilders bumff – that they will hold consultation seminars next week. Apart from this there is little evidence of urgency to spend the Futurebuilders money within the shrinking time frame. Did a telephone interview yesterday with a researcher from MORI on behalf of the Executive. At the end of the stock questions she asked what single improvement I would like to see in the working of the Executive. ‘That the ministers and the civil servants had more confidence in each other,’ I said, ‘More harmony and purpose so they won’t repeat last year’s massive underspend.’



Antonia Swinson is a leading campaigner on monetary reform and land value taxation – when she talks about financial matters it’s worth listening because she knows her subject and cares about social justice. She argues that a legal structure called a Limited Liability Partnership is of immense significance – could potentially affect the historical debt and equity models of global capitalism. The fact that I can’t get my head round LLPs is no great surprise as I’m a dumpling in such matters. See if you can grasp it: (



Because we are all ‘doing the business’ members of our network are generally convinced of the value to society of social enterprise. It is however quite another thing to ‘prove’ to outsiders that investment in our sector represents better value for their taxes. The New Economics Foundation (NEF) is leading work in the UK to help social businesses to tell their stories better – and produce evidence of their achievements. Lisa Sanfillippo summarises what’s going on (



The Glasgow social business ‘Cue and Review’ has secured a loan to buy the premises they occupy and will now rent out the remaining 15 units to create an income stream. Bank of Scotland provided 60% and SIS (Social Investment Scotland) came in behind them. (



Six voluntary organisations in Leicester have won a landmark court case halting the City Council’s decision to end their core funding. No-one’s daft enough to think the Council won’t cut them in the long term but it’s an interesting ruling. (



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


JOBS: 59 vacancies, incl: Edinburgh Mediabase, Drumchapel Community Forum Ltd, Friends of the Earth(Scotland), Scottish Community Development Centre.


EVENTS: Social Investment Scotland and Community Enterprise Limited present SEED fund seminars in Lothians, Fife, and Forth Valley throughout October; Scottish Waste Management Conference, Exhibition and Awards Dinner, Glasgow, 5-6 Oct; Strategic Campaigning, Edinburgh, 12-13 Oct; CAVOC Training (various); SEDI, Community Benefit through Public Procurement, 19 Oct; Developing Social Enterprise, 21 Oct; Golden Bear Trust annual fundraising Ceilidh, Edinburgh, 23 Oct; CHE, Facilitation Skills Course, Linlithgow, 29-31 Oct.


For details on these and more, visit ‘Yellow pages’ at:  



The Social Justice Manager for Communities Scotland (Grampian) is Simon Little who was one of the first members of Senscot over 5 years ago. Simon informs us that a CDFI/Social Investment Fund is emerging in the North East – Shadow Board to be in training before the end of the year. Simon is happy to be the contact for this and wider Futurebuilders matters:, tel. 01224 624960.



Our hearty congratulations to Paula Cowie and all the gang at the Fife Earthship. The launch was a great success – over 800 folk in splendid sunshine. The visitor centre is now open and at 6 new earthships are expected to start building next year. (



Network member Billy Mitchell attended a conference on Social Enterprise in Cambridge and has sent his impressions. From the top table he has selected two contributions as his highlights. Rebecca Harding talking about the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) and our pal Andrew Robinson, the community banker. The GEM stuff is worth revisiting ( and Andrew is very knowledgeable about social enterprise in the UK. (



The bulletin this week profiles LOGY Ltd. in Loanhead, Midlothian, which was set up 20 years ago in the summer of 1984 as a company limited by guarantee with charitable status. The company owns its own premises in Loanhead on the outskirts of Edinburgh. Previously a church, it has been transformed into Scotland’s first ever full time Gymnastics and Trampolining Centre. It is now recognised as one of Britain’s top centres having gained the prestigious British Gymnastics ‘Club of the Year’ award in 1996. LOGY Ltd. runs 3 wholly-owned trading arms; Midlothian Gymnastics Academy Ltd; LOGY Jumping Jacks and LOGY Centre; the proceeds from which go back into supporting the charities social aims. For more info’, see ‘profiles’ on our website:   



If like me you enjoy reflections – musings – aphorisms, get Don Paterson’s latest book, ‘The Book of Shadows’. Only understand half of them – but still worth it.

‘In my adult life, the time I have actually lived inside the present moment would amount to no more than a single day. If only I could have lived it in a single day: it would have thrown its light on all the others, like a brazier in a dark arcade. Instead I find my way, by sparks, and what they briefly make visible.’  And this is one of my favourites:

‘Falling and flying are near-identical sensations, in all but one final detail. We should remember this when we see those men and women seemingly in love with their own decline.’

This reminds me of a line by the Czech writer Milan Kundera: ‘Vertigo is not the fear of falling. It is the fear that you will not be able to overcome the urge to hurl yourself into the void’.

Here are some more bits from Paterson’s book: (


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

Best wishes,



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