Senscot Bulletin: 02.11.12

Dear members and friends,

A reader sends a link about a tiny island in the Pacific called Anuta – powerful story. Anuta is a volcanic pimple – half a mile across – with a coral reef, a 200ft hill – and a permanent population of 250 Polynesians; ratio of land to people roughly the same density as Bangladesh. 70 miles from the nearest populated island – visited only by occasional shipping – it’s among the most isolated communities on earth – yet one of the most stable and balanced.
 Central to Anutan society is the concept of Aropa – roughly translated as compassion, love and affection. The island provides an abundance of crops, fish and high quality natural spring water; the dominant culture of giving and sharing ensures that finite resources are divided equally among its people. The ability of islanders – over centuries – to maintain their island’s bounty – has attracted the attention of scientists interested in sustainability. See,
 Been reflecting on how long Anutan society can endure. Poignantly, 90% of world languages are dying – displaced by the babble of global commerce. We no longer value indigenous peoples like these – who understand how to live intimately and sustainably with nature – the very fabric of life on the planet. When I think of their way of life being extinguished – I feel anger – want to be cleansed of so much of what we call prosperity. LAURENCE’S NEW BOOK NOW AVAILABLE. See,

I have long enjoyed Scotland’s strong reputation for community ownership of land and assets – but I couldn’t begin to justify it with facts. Important report this week from DTA Scotland’s Community Ownership Support Team’s (COSS); Tom Black calls it a baseline study – it goes along way to fill our knowledge gap. Have spent only half an hour with it so far – mucho impressed by the range and depth of its data; at last a comprehensive overview of a sector which is about to really take off. Even the two page Executive Summary packs a punch. Thanks, guys, for this one. See,

Before a decision was made on the allocation of our ‘unclaimed accounts’ money – the late Stephen Maxwell proposed that it should provide long term support directly to our poorest communities. Whilst his idea was blanked in Scotland – it’s essence has surfaced in England – as Big Local – worth a look. See, As well as our third sector, Stephen made a major contribution to the shape of the SNP – and Alex Salmond will deliver the inaugural Stephen Maxwell lecture this month. See,  I remain unconvinced that SNP ‘gets’ community empowerment – but Stephen certainly did – an immovable champion.

Aided by the crowd-funding (advanced sales) of 250 copies – Senscot has published a new collection of the opening columns which Laurence writes for the Bulletin. Our first volume ‘You’ve Got To Laugh’ – covered six years from 2000 – 2006; this collection – called ‘Kindness’ – spans the six years from 2007 – 2012.Once again, we have specified quality printing and binding – to create an attractive gift for your friends – or for your own bookshelf. The price for a single copy is £10 – plus postage of £2.00 (UK Mainland). To order you copy/copies, contact or see,

It’s a pity that NESTA has such a weak profile in Scotland – regard us as an English province – because some recent developments catch our attention. In general, I regard the challenge of measuring social impact with cynicism – an inherently contrived process – inviting dishonesty. NESTA’s new ‘Standards of Evidence for Impact Investing’ are the beginnings of some shape to this task – if that’s where you want to go. See,

The EU is considering drawing up a European definition of what a social enterprise is – which won’t be easy given the national variations. But I’m in favour of this move – to keep out the carpetbaggers – mainly US corporates, who define SE as anything convenient. See,

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  This week:
JOBS: Xchange Scotland, Royal College of General Practitioners (Scotland), Venture Trust, GalGael Trust, Locavore Community Interest Company, Scottish Environment LINK
EVENTS: Space for Song: Women’s Liberation, 3 Nov; Portobello Market, 3 Nov; Developing Places and Spaces (Inverness), 6 Nov; 30th Anniversary Events, 7 Nov
TENDERS: Landscape Maintenance Contract for Glen Oaks Housing Association, Provision of Signage Services / Painting at Glasgow Caledonian University, Belville Community Garden Design Team and Hard / Soft landscaping at Burgh House, Leslie.  For more details, see

NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: On Wednesday, the Cultural SEN hosted its 2nd annual Conference at the Birnam Institute, near Dunkeld. The event was a great success with a series of excellent presentations. Significantly, the Conference also endorsed the ‘Social Enterprise and Culture Position Paper’. The Position Paper sets out the 7 ‘actions’ that will contribute to the value and worth of cultural social enterprises being more fully recognised and their potential to deliver more fully realised. Here’s the ‘Position Paper’ in full. See,  For more Networks News, see

DTA Scotland has formed a partnership with Touchstone Energy Management Services in a venture that could see their members and other social enterprises making savings of up to 20% on energy bills.
A combination of buying energy in bulk, and partnering a professional energy management service with a proven track record, will enable them to secure very competitive energy rates, accessing a prime open market which is otherwise inaccessible to smaller organisations. For more info, contact .See more,

Late extra: Round 3 of the Social Investment Fund was launched yesterday. Once again, Social Investment Scotland (SIS) will oversee delivery. Estimated amount available is £2m. Notes of interest required for Friday 16th Nov. See, We’ll have more next week.

I’m an enthusiastic supporter of Muhammad Yunus – but I’m not convinced that Grameen Bank has a useful contribution to make to financial exclusion in Glasgow – hope I’m wrong. Yunus is from a society with no welfare provision and few public services – I suspect that some of his assumptions are not transferable. The Sunday Herald carried a good piece. See,

Read an interesting piece in Resurgence Mag about the effect of scale on the values and behaviour of a business; how large scale, global corporates and family/community run enterprises “are not really even cousins”. Is this also true in our third sector? See,

You may be aware that the third sector in England is considering changes to regulations to allow charitable trustees to be paid. In our view – the voluntary commitment of trustees is a fundamental and definitive characteristic of our sector – which should not be weakened. When, in 2006, OSCR chose to pay its own board members – Senscot argued against its decision. See,

This week’s bulletin profiles a childcare service in Castlemilk that provides a range of services covering 0-16 years. Indigo Childcare Group, a member of Glasgow SEN, operates four distinct services: Early years childcare (0-5 yrs); out of school care (4-16 yrs); mobile/flexible care (for individuals and companies); and the new ‘indie care’ service for 11 – 16 years. Whilst operating predominantly in Castlemilk, Indigo has plans to expand their services to other parts of the city. See more,

Quote from West Indian poet, Derek Walcott:

"The time will come when, with elation, you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror, and each will smile at the other’s welcome, And say, sit here. Eat. You will love again the stranger who was yourself. Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart. Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate notes, peel your own image from the mirror. Sit. Feast on your life".
That’s all for this week.

Good luck with your adventures

Best wishes,


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