Senscot Bulletin: 03.02.12

Dear members and friends,

 Spanish Notebook: 28.12.11 – I never buy a lottery ticket in Spain because I don’t know how it works – you could win and never know; when/where is the draw – how to check numbers/claim prize etc.  Tickets are sold by registered vendors – who go about the streets and cafes with a clipboard.  I’ve become a ‘kent face’ in Pepe’s bar at the corner – exchanging smiles and ‘holas’ with the locals – including Miguel the village ‘lotero’.  Today Pepe tells me that the next draw is in two days – that he’ll keep my ticket in the till – check it for me; so to be sociable I invest 10 euros – Miguel says I could win a million euros.
 Spanish Notebook: 29.12.11 – Writing this, 3pm, on Ana’s terrace in bright sunshine; ended lunch with her great rice pudding (arroz con leche).  Yesterday’s lottery ticket has preoccupied me all day – pondering what difference a million euros would make to my life; I’ve decided it would make no difference.  I no longer believe in the fairytale notion of happiness – of sudden life-changing events.  Content now with the mundane, day to day fragments of life – this – here – now – like the details of a mosaic: sunlight – this novel – Ana’s laughter – homemade chips – this notebook – those flowers – arroz con leche…  But if I’ve settled for life’s simple things – why have I spent all morning pretending to be a millionaire – imagining my new lifestyle – including a posh villa.

The following item in this bulletin lists the 60 organisations which received investment in the latest round of Enterprise Growth Fund awards.  These periodic windfalls are very welcome – but the supply of ‘social investment’ to Scotland’s SE community remains a confused and disorganised patchwork.  In England this week, Ben Hughes, the new boss of the Community Development Finance Association (CDFA) – claimed that thousands of social enterprises are starved of investment – because his member CDFIs can’t access wholesale finances. See,  The money supply to Scotland’s 3 CDFIs is equally fragile.  The time is ripe for one of the mutuals to step up to the plate in Scotland – co-ordinate all the bit players into a sustainable fit-for-purpose, sector-led investment fund. 

John Swinney, this week, announced the organisations which were successful in their applications for investment from the Enterprise Growth Fund. 60 organisations shared a pot of £6m to either build on existing work or to develop new ventures. From our point of view, we were delighted to see that nearly 50% of awardees are active SEN members. Here’s the full list – plus a breakdowns on geography, turnover and grant value,

The word on the street is that – the team in Scottish Govt with responsibility for the community sector – has moved over from Housing to sit within the Third Sector Division.  Senscot has always argued that the third sector is a stool with three legs – voluntary – social enterprise – and community.  Locating them within the same directorate must make good sense. 

The bulletin has been campaigning for 10 years from the re-structuring of local democracy in Scotland – to install a missing layer of representation at community level. The journalist/broadcaster Lesley Riddoch has become one of the most effective campaigners for ‘people sized government’ – referencing the Nordic countries as exemplars of how it could work. I’m going to the next meeting of Nordic Horizons – 7th Feb at the Scottish Parliament. See,

Thanks to all those readers who have already contributed during January to our annual call for donations.  To donate this year, see Company members – around 100 individuals who support our work – pay an average of £25. Associate members (organisations) pay a minimum of £100 and enjoy free use of our jobs and events service. See 2011 list,

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  This week:
JOBS: Ladywood Leisure Centre Penicuik, Hadeel Palestinian Craft Shop, Douglas St. Bride’s Community Group, Lothlorien Community (Rokpa Trust) , ASFaCT, Healthy Valleys, Midlothian Voluntary Action, Almond Enterprises Ltd, Scottish Churches Housing Action, Action for Children
EVENTS: Wee Dub Festival 2012 – Workshops, 4 Feb; Just Enterprise- Sales & Marketing workshop, 7 Feb; Getting Ready to Buy, 9 Feb; Community Sport Thriving in the 21st Century, 23 Feb; Creating Enterprise to enable Social Benefit, 29 Feb; The Social Enterprise Exchange, 27 Mar
TENDERS: Open Tenders for feasibility study/ Business Plan – for Iona Village Hall, Re-Processing of Timber arising from Recycling Centres, Recycling Points and Commercial Outlets, repair and maintenance services in Glasgow. See,

NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: A key element within Scottish Govt’s public service reform policy is the engagement with the third sector. Last week, we circulated the Health Roundtable’s ‘SE and Health Policy Context Paper’ (See,, We also reported on the launch of the ‘Developing New Markets’ contract (See, Scottish Govt and the Third Sector Research Forum have also produced a related paper, entitled "Why involve the third sector in health and social care delivery?"  Recommendations include the assertion that "third sector activities complement and directly support work towards meeting the healthcare Quality Outcomes ambitions for Scotland – and building on these will be essential in moving forward with the ambitions for better services for Scotland."  See,
For more Networks News, see

An important partnership was announced this week between the London-based School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) and the Lloyds Banking Group. Over 5 years, 500 aspiring social entrepreneurs will receive bursaries of between £4k – £25k. Ever since it launched, Senscot has valued the SSE action/learning model – invented by the late Michael Young. This programme deserves to expand – hope Scotland sees some of it. See,

Deadline for applications for Firstport’s Level 2 awards is 5pm on Friday 24th February 2012. They are on the look out for social entrepreneurs who are in the start up phase of their social enterprise.  If you have already developed and tested your idea but need more time to implement it then a Level 2 award could pay for your living expenses.  Level 2 awards are awards of up to £20,000. See,

In a Guardian interview this week, Ken Livingston spoke up for Ed Miliband – calling him a ‘visionary’, who is determined to impose long-term fundamental change – that would make us a much fairer society. Livingston also told how when he was Leader of GLC – the difference in pay between the cleaner and the director general was a ratio of 1:4. See,

Pat Kane writes, "While visiting my mother in Coatbridge last year – I came upon the town’s latest landmark – the new superhero arch". Apart from being half of Hue and Cry – Kane is many other interesting things; political writer, eco-warrior, social entrepreneur etc. Here he uses the Coatbridge cast iron sculpture as the intro to an essay on Creative Place Awards.  See,

This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise in Orkney that provides a range of services that help people enjoy being eco-friendly, develop themselves as leaders, strengthen their local communities as well as boosting the local economy. Touchwood Project’s activities include training community-run hostels how to improve their profits and community impact, learning how to manage and have fun in a power outage during  ‘Power Off’ weekends, and running sessions to develop leadership through a tool called StrengthsFinder. Their next venture involves a series of workshops designed to improve retailers’ skills. The workshops inspired and approved by TV retail guru Mary Portas, will be piloted online in Orkney. For more, see

From Timeline by Michael Crichton.

 "Today everybody expects to be entertained and they expect to be entertained all the time.  Business meetings must be snappy, with bullet lists and animated graphics, so executives aren’t bored.  Politicians must have video personalities and tell us only what we want to hear.  Schools must be careful not to bore young minds that expect the speed and complexity of digital media.  Students must be amused – everyone must be amused, or they will switch: switch parties, switch loyalties.  This is the intellectual reality of Western society – in our times.  In other centuries, human beings wanted to be saved, or improved, or freed, or educated.  But in our times they want to be entertained.  The great fear is not of disease or death, but of boredom."

That’s all for this week.

Good luck with your adventures

Best wishes,


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