Senscot Bulletin: 02.06.17

Dear members and friends,

Do you know what ‘millennials’ are?  I had to Google it.  Seemingly it applies to individuals who reached adulthood around the turn of the 21st century – so, born years earlier.  Various studies, notably from Pew Research Centre, have created a profile of millennials – which I find impressive. Firstly and unsurprisingly, the new generation is adept with electronics – but with a near addiction to mobiles; also internet savvy – socially networked.  Millennials are more tolerant than my generation – of racial, sexual and religious diversity; less likely to have fixed political or religious affiliations.  They have a better work/life balance; job satisfaction means more – they’ll ‘job-hop’ in a new ‘gig economy’; altogether a better informed, more emancipated generation.
            On Sunday – on BBC 4 – by accident – I watched (for about three minutes) a band, Kings of Leon, performing somewhere – totally incomprehensible.  The resident CD in my car just now is Dean Martin singing Italian love songs from the 50s and 60s; many tracks have particular memories for me – collectively they evoke a soundtrack of my youth.  Since the beginning of recorded history – I can’t see that human nature has changed much – but I marvel at how each generation grapples anew with the same eternal challenges. I don’t think old folk like me are irrelevant – history is important – but we should definitely get out the way – let the next lot have a go. I have no interest in Kings of Leon – happy with Dino singing Neapolitan love songs; time for the millennials.


This is the final bulletin before we all get to vote next Thursday – for many, its decision time! – my own position remains settled – well summarised in this Ruth Wishart piece.  We Scots voted almost 2:1 to remain in Europe; I would like Scotland to be a small, egalitarian, European nation – more closely aligned to the social democracy of Scandinavia, than Westminster’s right wing austerity regime; if this necessitates constitutional independence – bring it on; we are an enterprising people.  One senses that voters in general are more ‘free thinking’ – more volatile than they have ever been; in both Scotland and England there could be surprises next week.


Access, the foundation for social investment, will launch a new £4.5m loan fund next month in England – aimed at homelessness charities.  When you decipher the jargon, they’re looking for charities which relieve homelessness whilst generating at least enough income to repay commercial loans.  These funds are often dreamed up by bankers under pressure to grow their loan books; the problem being that they basically don’t ‘get’ where third sector organisations are coming from. Surprisingly, membership charity Homeless Link has agreed to punt the fund.  As Muhammad Yunus says repeatedly – profiting from the relief of human suffering is abhorrent.  True ‘social investment’ does not attach interest rates. This is what Yunus wrote in his book ‘Growing Social Business’.


I have personal experience of how an employability programme – operated as a community enterprise by local people – is much better equipped to offer personalized support than remote, national ‘prime contractors’.  It is disappointing to discover that procurement for the, now devolved, Fair Start Scotland work programme – is still structured in ‘chunks’ which exclude all but the biggest contractors.  Our communities function on a, mostly unappreciated, pool of goodwill – people looking after each other.  The future of public services depends on us learning how to engage with this priceless asset.  Not passing employability funding down to communities is a major lost opportunity.


In Finland, children don’t start formal education until the age of seven, have short school days, long holidays, no homework or exams – yet its education system scores amongst the best in the world. This article describes a new Finnish direction underway – a move from teaching in ‘subjects’ (like maths, science etc) to teaching the core ‘digital age’ skills necessary to flourish in the 21st century (for millennials). I have a sense that Scottish education lags way behind Finnish. It can’t be incidental that teaching is a highly paid, well-respected profession in Finland.


NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:
JOBS: The Ecology Centre, Glasgow Watersports, RAMH, Wasps Studios, Community Ownership Support Service, Development Trust Assn Scotland, Pilton Community Health Project, Timespan Museum and Arts
EVENTS: Portobello Market, 3 Jun; Breathing Space Callander 10k, 5 Jun; June Pop-up-Cafe, 6 Jun; Project Management – A Practitioner’s Workshop, 6 Jun; Intro to IT Security for Small Businesses, 8 Jun;
TENDERS: Keys to Employment – Scottish Borders Council; Positive Emotional Wellbeing Support Service – Scottish Borders Council; Community Justice Peer Support and Mentoring Service – The City of Edinburgh Council and more.  Join the Ready for Business Linked-In group and follow on Twitter.
The SENs Weekly Update: The Partnership and Procurement Hub will be building momentum over the coming months as we build up the staff team. The P&P Hub will be supporting social enterprises and third sector organisations looking to form partnerships and consortia – either for working together or with a view to bidding for public sector contracts. With two staff in place – Yvonne McBride (Hub Manager) and George McConnachie (Hub Co-ordinator) – we are now looking to complete our team by recurring two further members of staff. These will include another Hub Co-ordinator (see – application pack) as well as a Hub Support Officer (see – application pack). Closing date for applications is Friday 23rd June 2017 – with interviews during week beginning 3rd July. For more on either of the jobs, contact


During last week’s visit to Milan to learn about the Italian Consortia Model, one of the presentations received was from Sistema Imprese Sociali (SIS). This represents a typical example of a social co-op consortium – made up of 26 social co-ops. SIS is owned by the 26 members and has been set up to fulfill specific functions on their behalf: business services and support; negotiate and secure investment; and develop and help establish new ventures. The approach was described as an ‘inverted pyramid’ – where the role/work of the support organisation and/or intermediary is very much decided upon by the members.


May’s SCRT Bulletin now available. Stories this month include: increase in credit union membership in Scotland; working capital loans from Resilient Scotland; and the hype about Social Impact Bonds.


The Social Economy Alliance – in England – was set up in 2014 as a broad coalition of 15 Intermediary bodies from the community, voluntary and social enterprise sectors. In the run-up to the 2015 General Election, it put together a joint manifesto to influence the social and economic policies of the respective parties. Here’s their Manifesto 2017. Maybe we should be doing something similar in Scotland come 2021?


Last year, The Ferret, Scotland’s first investigative journalism platform, carried out a crowd-funded investigation into fracking and unconventional energy that made a significant impact on the debate in Scotland. They are now embarking on their second crowd-funded investigation –  following a readers’ poll -into the issue of housing and homelessness. They are looking to raise £4/5k by 16th June. This short video (5 mins) gives more details on what will be involved. Support them if you can.


This week’s bulletin profiles a new social enterprise that is addressing the effects cold weather has on the health and wellbeing of many within our communities both here in Scotland and the rest of the UK. Feel the Warmth CIC, based in Carluke, produces ‘heated wearables’ using a unique system that is safe, self-regulating and comfortable to wear. All profits generated to finance free products for those at most risk but unable to afford their products. This enables them us to address a huge social problem and at the same time create stable jobs for young people and long term unemployed across Lanarkshire. As part of the Health SEN, Feel the Warmth is looking to partner with other charities in distributing their free products.
The idea of an unknowable, designing intelligence behind the universe became a kind of ‘cosmic religion’ for Albert Einstein.


“My religiosity consists of a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we can comprehend of the knowable world. That deeply emotional conviction of the the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God. How can cosmic religious feeling be communicated from one person to another, if it can give rise to no definite notion of God and no theology? The most beautiful and deepest experience we can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as of all serious endeavour in art and science.”


That’s all for this week.
Best wishes,




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Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210