Senscot Bulletin: 04-02-2004



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


Dear members and friends,


Between 1965 and 2000 (35 years) humankind doubled from 3-6 billion – 50% of this population lives on 2 euros per day.  New communications technology builds the global appetite – by 2050 around 10 billion people will be wanting the lifestyle enjoyed by 1 billion of us.  The present world distribution system ‘works’ in a way which allows 24,000 people every day to die of hunger.  Do we still have a chance to get this exploding process under control – or could the Global biotope collapse.

            Some folk respond to this crisis by acquiring wealth – enough to create a buffer zone between themselves and the teeming millions – that, at least is what they tell themselves.  The other option is to reduce what we use.  Scrap the car – smaller dwelling – wood burning stove – slow down – grow veg – get into balance. 

Been meeting monthly – small group of us – talk of an eco village – ‘the good life’ – ‘treading gently’- some shared living in a supportive community. Meeting last week – go early to help arrange chairs – wash cups etc.  About to get started when M arrives – starts rearranging chairs. ‘What are you doing?’ I ask ‘we prefer them the way we always have them’ – ‘Yes’ says her pal.  Feel sudden rage – disproportionate – go out – sit in car for a while to calm down.  But can’t shrug it off – drive away. Have to accept that I can’t do the shared living bit – too uptight – too easy wound up.  Options running out. Not only for me.



In December we brought your attention to an important report from the Home Office called ‘Firm Foundations’ – a framework for community capacity building in England – proposing the powerful notion of ‘community anchor organisations’. ( Last week at the Manchester Regenerations Summit, John Prescott announced a five year strategy of empowering local communities called ‘People, Places and Prosperity’.  On Tuesday we had Tony Blair – then Wednesday Gordon Brown, joining the call for grass roots devolution – ‘a new form of local control below the town hall’ – owning assets – running services. What’s going on?  The few contacts I have around the Scottish Executive know nothing about these developments – can’t find any civil servants who are part of these discussions.  I assume that as far as Scotland is concerned – we can all go back to sleep. (



It’s good to report when Scotland is doing it better than our English cousins – which is certainly the case with the progress of our respective charities legislation. London is in a mess about the process of defining ‘public benefit’ – Scotland wants the definition included in the Act. If we do ‘get this right’ it will be to the credit of the policy folk at SCVO who have been clear and uncompromising in this matter.  NCVO – their English equivalent – have now switched to the SCVO position.

            Another area where we lead is our ‘community right to buy’ legislation – and a campaign has started in England to import the Scottish model. Colleague Steve Wyler of the English DTA says ‘We are very inspired by what is happening in Scotland – why can’t it happen here?’



Because of dithering, Futurebuilders in Scotland was slower off the mark than England – but maybe we can learn from their moves.  Their CEO Richard Gutch wrote last week ‘Futurebuilders is not right for everyone – we are testing whether an investment model – a combination of loan, grant and capacity building – can help voluntary and community organisations develop services which public sector agencies purchase through contracts or fees – thus supporting the sector’s wider sustainability.  We received 641 applications in the first window, and have short listed 284.  We are on track to achieve our initial target of making around 85 investments from the first round’.  In Scotland the word is that there is no shortage of applications but of variable quality.  Don’t forget they are looking for sustainability through trading. It is intended to make a few ‘early’ awards in the next few weeks.



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: 39 vacancies, incl. posts with: Empower Scotland, Blue Triangle Housing Association, Renfrewshire CVS, Community Transport Association, Turning Point Scotland, Assist Social Capital.


EVENTS: Workshops and volunteer activities Feb-May, Talamh Life Centre , South Lanarkshire; Argyll and Bute Enterprise Network meeting, Rothsay, 9 Feb; ‘Taking a Loan of Finance’, Social Investment Scotland info event on CDFI; ‘The marketplace: trading opportunities for the social economy’, workforce strategy seminar – both events at ‘The Gathering of the Networks’, 15 Feb, Glasgow; Access Europe 2005 exhibition, 22 Feb, Edinburgh; Sustainable Communities conference, 15 March, Edinburgh;


The new Edinburgh Fund goes live this week. The fund (up to £5,000) aims to stimulate and encourage not-for-profit organisations to develop new enterprise and trading ideas.



The first cultural enterprise network meeting took place this week at Fablevision in Glasgow. Next meeting scheduled for West Lothian Youth Theatre on 7th March. For info’, contact

New additions to Tools and Templates pages – ‘How to commission a consultant’ and ‘Tools for a Marketing Plan.’



Scotland’s excellent centre for Human Ecology (CHE) and England’s excellent New Economics Foundation (NEF) are working together to promote a new learning and democracy tool called ‘Democs’.  I believe it’s a kind of card game to get people talking on topical issues. One day facilitator training – 18th Feb – only £10



This week’s bulletin profiles an emerging Social Firm being established in the West of Scotland. Ask Clyde, run by former Social Firms Scotland’s David Lyon will provide research and consultancy services to both public and private sector clients. Services will include Business Planning, Feasibility Studies, Evaluation Services as well as Market Research. At present, they are actively recruiting additional staff and looking for potential clients. As a social firm, Ask Clyde is committed to ensuring that at least 25% of staff will be people with a disability or other disadvantage and that 50% of turnover of the business will come from sales of good and services to the market. For further info’



This is the final week of our annual appeal for donations.  Many thanks to those of you who took the trouble to show your appreciation of our network.  Here’s a list of donors and the donate facility (will post final list on website next week):



On the same theme as my intro – you may wish to read again this graphic summary of the ratios of people and resources in our global village:

‘If we could shrink the earth’s population to a village of precisely 100 people, keeping all the existing human ratios the same, there would be: 57 Asians, 21 Europeans, 14 from the Western Hemisphere, both north and south, 8 Africans, 52 would be female, 48 would be male, 70 would be non-white, 30 would be white, 70 would be non-Christian, 30 would be Christian, 80 would live in substandard housing, 70 would be unable to read, 50 would suffer from malnutrition, 1 would be near death, 1 would be near birth, 1 (yes, only 1) would be a university graduate, 1 would own a computer. 6 people (all from the USA) would posses 59% of the world’s wealth.  These six would be in control of the village.’


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


Best wishes,



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