Senscot Bulletin: 03-05-2005



(Going out weekly to over 2500; searchable archive of bulletins at web-site,


Dear members and friends,


On Saturday evenings been watching v.impressive TV series: ‘Soul Deep – the story of black popular music.’ Using interviews and archive footage, it traces the sources and development of Soul – from its gospel origins – through Rhythm and Blues – Tamla Motown etc.  In the 60s Soul music evolved against the backdrop of the Civil Rights movement – became the expression of black solidarity – the pride and passion of a people humiliated by segregation – A way to assert their identity and freedom.  This is a powerful story – great music.

            On Sunday evenings been watching ‘Destination Scotland’ – about folk who came to live here.  Last week was about the Italians – events which touched my own family.  I was born on May 10 1940 – on June 10 Mussolini declared war on the allies – on July 2 the liner ‘Arandora Star’ carrying civilians to internment was sunk – drowning 447 Scottish Italians – including my grandfather.  This disaster had a deep effect on our fledgling community – I grew up with many retellings of this story – but never with bitterness.  ‘It was war’ – I was told ‘The Scots people were suffering – losing sons and husbands – Britain was expecting invasion.’  The fact that all my people came back to Scotland to carry on building a life here means that they must have felt welcome. They were typical immigrants – hope – plenty guts – and hard hard work.  My Nonna was always grateful to Scotland for her family’s deliverance from poverty.  ‘This is a good country, Lorenzo.  It is not my country – but one day it will be yours.’  She was right – Wha’s  like us?



Senscot’s mission is that social enterprise should become an integral part of everyday Scottish life – a better way of doing things – because it simultaneously builds what Aristotle calls ‘civic friendship.’  On the evidence of Wednesday’s packed gathering of Third Sector practitioners at Heriot Watt – social enterprise is moving into mainstream – (it is rumoured that even certain MSPs use the term).  But the misleading hype around the launch of Futurebuilders may have given the false impression that social enterprise can be for everyone.  Whilst it is certainly possible for a voluntary organisation to convert from a culture of grant applications to trading – it is more likely that a true social enterprise will contain the ‘business gene’ from the outset. We need to ask ourselves – and this includes Senscot – do we really want to be a business.  Another caveat – the true test of the success of our mission – is the number of successful social enterprises on the ground – not the amount of chatter about the ‘concept’. When the ‘fashionistas’ move on – will your business survive? Let’s keep our eye on the ball.



In England the Third Sector is having an interesting debate.  On one side ACEVO – (Chief Officers of Charities) want to go for bigger and better delivery contracts – the acceptable face of outsourcing.  On the other side NCVO advises caution – be careful of bog government contracts – our sector has a wider mission – about civil renewal.  I go with NCVO on this one.  Making profit is only meaningful as a means to an end – like being independent to promote social change.  Big contracts can undermine independence. Think of Tesco’s suppliers.   



Senscot has been moaning for years about the indifference of our Parliament to the social enterprise agenda. In recent months, Green MSP Mark Ballard has emerged as a supporter of our work and has agreed to speak at our AGM in a fortnight. If you’d like to come, email  Our audited accounts are now posted on our site under ‘our documents’:



The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation has a loan programme testing demand from our sector. Minimum 10k, maximum 250k – they are ‘open to new ideas’ – admin and due diligence provided by Charity bank.



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


JOBS: 43 vacancies, incl. posts with: McSence, Inverclyde Community Development Trust, ILM (Highland), Big Issue Scotland, Social Firms Scotland, LEEP, Scottish Association for Mental Health.


Senscot is recruiting an Information Assistant:


EVENTS: DARE presentation and disability related exhibition, Dundee, 10 June;  Networking event on arts, crafts, healthy food, exercise, wildlife and recycling, Glasgow Botanic Gardens, 12 June; ‘Asylum Matters for Scotland’ conference, Glasow, 15 June; ‘EU Funding Opportunities for the Cultural Sector’ seminar, Edinburgh, 22 June. Mobus ‘It’s a Knockout’ fun event, Leven, Fife, June 25.



The Senscot Exchange will be introducing a new ‘Intra-trading’ page to the website in the next week or so.  This will offer a portal for social enterprises to advertise their products and services and will hopefully stimulate business.

The Exchange itself continues to spread, with over 300 requests for direct support since the turn of the year and 10 organisations being supported as Active Accounts. For more info’, on the Exchange and the ‘Intra-trading’, contact



This week’s bulletin profiles a development trust in Shetland that has won a national award for best community initiative at the Scottish Green Energy Awards. The Unst Partnership in Shetland was set up in 2000 to address many of the issues facing the community as a result of the drawdown at RAF Saxa Vord and the closure of the airport which led to the loss of 250 jobs and the rapid depopulation of the island. They are planning a long-term programme of economic regeneration in Unst that includes the award winning community-owned renewable energy system – PURE (Promoting Unst Renewable Energy). The project demonstrates how wind power and hydrogen technology can be combined to provide the energy needs for business units on the island. Further info:



The main advantages of social accounting is that it enables your enterprise to demonstrate the value of what you do – and the same info can be used to improve performance.  The Social Audit Network (SAN) first produced its manual in 2001 – and it has now been radically revised to guide social economy practitioners through the process of setting up social accounting systems.  The manual and CD cost £40 (incl. p & p)

            Our own Colin Campbell continues to develop his social capital profiling approach and is pleased to share his work with fellow enthusiasts. Here is an executive summary of his latest report



Raymond Carver, in his poem Radio Waves, tells how a mood of discouragement was swept away by the discovery of the poems on Antonio Machado.  Here’s a verse but its worth reading the whole thing.

‘Then, Machado, your poetry! It was a little like a middle-aged man falling in love again. A remarkable thing to witness, and embarrassing, too. Silly things like putting your picture up. And I took your book to bed with me and slept with it near at hand. A train went by in my dreams one night and woke me up. And the first thing I thought, heart racing there in the dark bedroom, was this – It’s all right, Machado is here. Then I could fall back to sleep again.’ (


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


Best wishes,



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