Senscot Bulletin: 04-03-2005



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


Dear members and friends,


I’m a regular reader of Jack Mclean’s Saturday diary in the Herald.  Candid, grouchy patter about Glasgow – its watering holes – life in general.  This week he wrote: “For years I have detested the so-called celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.  But today I hear him on the food programme talking about school dinners….I was wrong about this young chap and unreservedly say sorry for all my contumelies over the years”. (Every week Jack drops in a word like ‘contumelies’, which I have to look up).  I’m also a Jamie fan – particularly of his restaurant ‘Fifteen’ which trains and employs young people to work in the restaurant industry.  Because of TV, this is now the most famous social enterprise in the UK.  To explain what I do for a living I now just say “like the Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen” – folk understand.  He’s done more to bring the concept of social enterprise into the mainstream than the rest of us put together.  Instant cred.  Marvellous.

            In my community enterprise days, we had a go at training young people in the catering trade.  It was a partnership between Craigmillar, Wester Hailes and Telford College – twinned with Istituto Culinario di Firenze (ICF) in Florence.  The ICF is a renowned institution which hand picks its students to serve in some of the world’s great restaurants.  Our band of trainees was an eclectic mix which included some seasoned ‘heidbangers’.  Hilarious memories on the Piazza della Republica – including I’m afraid some contumelies.  (Contumely. Noun. Insolent or reproachful language or treatment).



Always been a fan of devolution but it doesn’t benefit the sector where we work.  The political climate in England is much more supportive of the voluntary and community sectors – particularly social enterprise – and to some extent we benefit from the slipstream of their considerable momentum.  All major Westminster departments – Home Office, Treasury, ODPM, DTI etc – have big initiatives to empower the third sector.  But it is mostly impossible to discover how this translates into any equivalent Scottish activity – devolution excludes us.  This disconnection has not been helped by the fact that our Voluntary Issues Unit has been ‘headless’ since Neville McKay left at the end of June. Neville and his boss Mark Batho were keen to open up the debate about Third Sector policy – but openness is not the style of the Scottish labour Party and since they’ve gone we are drifting back to the former Scottish Office remoteness. On 31st January, Elinor Mitchell took up post as head of the VIU. She was previously with the Executive’s environment and Rural Affairs Dept. We wish her well.



On Monday OSCR (Office of Scottish Charity Regulator) outlined the way Scottish Charities will be monitored.  In April this year, an Annual Return will be issued to all recognised charities – for submission within 3 months.  If your income is over £25,000 you’ll be asked to also submit your latest set of accounts.  From April 2006 all charities will complete an annual return and submit accounts. All charities will engage annually with the regulator.



Campaigners in the Borders town of Kelso hope to use the new Land Reform Act to save their local cinema from being converted into flats.  They want the Roxy converted into a community venue for showing films, holding concerts and staging other small events.  This is an interesting precedent for our Land Reform Act – lets hope this great wee project gets through.



Announcement last week of two final approvals for communities to exercise their right to buy – Crossgates Community Woodland in Fife (37 acres) and Newtonhill Woods west of Inverness (740 acres).  The right to buy legislation is one of those laws that puts me in a good mood. The take up is gathering momentum.



Another feel good success story in our sector is the expansion of the Fairtrade movement.  In 2003 there were 150 retail and catering products available – today there are 800 and growing.  As the British public learns that this is about benefit to farmers in the developing world – the response is dramatic.  This could become huge.



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: 56 vacancies, incl. posts with: Building Brighter Futures, Cairn Housing Association, Project Scotland, Community Matters, Friends of the Earth, Open Secret.


EVENTS: ‘Rural Community Networks in Europe and Scotland’ Scottish Rural Community Network event,

14th March, Edinburgh; ‘Making it happen – integrating Scotland’s new communities’, 24 March, Glasgow; Asset-based development: the risks, rewards and routes to success, Apr 5, Edinburgh; Voluntary Arts Scotland ‘Mapping the future’ events;



Public money often comes with a ‘claw back’ clause.  Restrictions on generating earned income – or using assets as collateral for a loan etc.  After years of campaigning by the Development Trust Association and others – the Treasury has announced an end to these restrictions.  Steve Wyler, director of the DTA said; “This breakthrough will be cheered by community groups up and down the country”.  It’s important we make sure that these relaxations occur in Scotland.



Always believed that banking in the UK should be much more tightly regulated – in fact I don’t know how they get away with it – screwing the public – pure greed.  Triodos, a Dutch bank, is effectively a social enterprise – exists to make the world a better place – specialises in lending to our sector – understands what we do. We’ve been with them since spring 2003 and are sometimes asked to give a reference.  Here’s such a request last week – and what Aidan wrote.



The upper limit for seedcorn applications to Futurebuilders Scotland has been raised from £25,000 to £50,000. See the website:



The Upstarts Awards were launched in 2001 to promote the ideas of social enterprise and entrepreneurs across the UK. 2005’s winners were announced this week with Nick Baxter from Cornerstone Community Care in Aberdeen winning the Social Entrepreneur award. Good to see another Scottish winner following on from Kibble’s success last year. Full list of winners:  



The first Midlothian Social Enterprise Network meeting takes place on March 24th from 12.30 – 2.30 and is being hosted by Loanhead Learning Centre. For more info’, contact



This week’s bulletin profiles on one of the newer members of DTA Scotland, the Arrochar and Tarbert Community Development Trust. The trust was established following an extensive community consultation process as part of the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park Community Futures Programme.  The Trust has already purchased a successful local café business which now operates as a social enterprise and is currently focussing on two other major projects – the funding and building of a new village hall, and the expansion and development of the Pit Stop café to incorporate public toilets, a couple of business units, training opportunities and a youth facility. Further info



The American satirist Hunter S Thompson killed himself on 20th Feb. Never really engaged with his work – knew about ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ but never read it. It seems that he spent a lot f his life drunk or stoned – but most obituarists agree that this guy was the genuine article – the real McCoy. Half outlaw – half hero – beholden to no-one – he shot holes in any fakery he found. Well before the Iraq war Thompson wrote, “We have become a Nazi monster in the eyes of the whole world – a nation of bullies and ba***rds who would rather kill than live peacefully. We are not just whores for power and oil but killer whores with hate and fear in our hearts. That’s how history will judge us.”

An insight into his lifestyle of excess may be had from the epigraph of ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ – Dr Johnston’s statement, “He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.”


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


Best wishes,



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