Dear members and friends,
My routine is occasionally brightened by joyful visits from wee Laura – nearly two; toddlers are supercharged learning machines – with a capacity they will never surpass. The science says that now, emotional connections are shaping the physical architecture of Laura’s brain; that through successful early ‘attachment’, neural pathways are opening – the capacity for human compassion igniting. But of course, she will remember little of this: ‘we arrive in our lives like latecomers to the theatre – having to guess what happened in the first act’.
Asking and guessing about my own early years helped me appreciate the ‘covering’ role played by my maternal grandmother. There was a war on – dad interned, mum dying of open tuberculosis – restricting contact with her two children (impossible to imagine that). My guess is that she transferred our attachment to her own mother – because my ‘nonna in Glasgow’ became my personification of unselfish love; the closest my memory gets to ‘belonging’ – to feeling myself ‘beloved on the earth’.
I’m an enthusiastic supporter of the rising male responsibility for childcare (including nappies) – but I don’t believe that the role of ‘grannies’ will ever be supplanted. In her science-fiction, the writer Ursula Le Guin fantasises about sending an old woman, from the village market place, to a fictional planet – to teach the friendly natives about the nature of the human race. Old women, she insists, are the only people to have “experienced, accepted, and enacted the entire human condition.” To me, this feels true – intuitively.
The ‘fact-checking’ Ferret, confirmed this week that one third of UK children are born into poverty – a great tragedy. Under an unforgiving political regime, the gap between rich and poor still widens – the merciless ‘hostile environment’ of austerity. The Labour Party has re-grouped under Corbyn – is shedding the Blairite aberration – would distribute the nation’s wealth differently – to close the gap. Relentless bad news from No.10; divided cabinet – Brexit deadlock; is Britain ready for regime change, or is Labour simply too left wing. English council elections yesterday, votes still being counted; mixed results, nothing decisive – but it looks mostly like a Tory sigh of relief; the thin line holds.
Last December – Scottish Govt. and COSLA launched the Local Governance Review, which will run throughout 2018; an ‘Enabling Group’, of 20 individuals has been nominated from the public, private and third sectors – to instigate a national conversation about local democracy. The aim of empowering communities, large and small, to make more decisions for themselves can only be welcomed; it’s only the structures and mechanisms to achieve this that will invite controversy (or will it be apathy). Will Scotland go with a variety of flexible, adaptable strategies – or the universality and familiarity of the ballot box.
Apologies for my piece last week, calling the People’s Postcode Lottery ‘a private company engaged in profit-driven fundraising’ – wrong; a measured and courteous reply from their Public Affairs person, Malcolm Fleming, informs me that PPL is owned by a charitable foundation – is not for commercial gain or shareholder profit. He also offers good evidence that the temporary drop in National Lottery revenue was due to management decisions rather than competition from other lotteries. I need to research a better understanding of this sector – whether the public interest is served by a national monopoly or competition.
When in 2016 the SNP moved to merge HIE with Scottish Enterprise, they got a shock – the Highlanders chased them; no-one had previously encountered an economic development agency which enjoyed widespread popular support. The simple reason, as Peter McColl explains in this piece, is that along with the economy, HIE has a mission to support community development – regards the economy and the community as indivisible. Particularly impressive is the way HIE has enabled Highland communities to achieve income streams from renewable energy. Important models here which could benefit the whole of Scotland.
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website.
JOBS: South Seeds, Wasps Ltd, Govanhill Housing Association, One Parent Families Scotland, Lifelink, The Salisbury Centre, McLaren Community Leisure Centre. Craigsfarm Community Development Project.
EVENTS: Wellbeing Gateway in South West Edinburgh, 9 May; Disability Confident Event, 11 May; The Ecology Centre – 20th anniversary family ceilidh, 19 May; Senscot AGM 2018, 25 May.
TENDERS: Early Learning & Childcare Qualifications 2018 – The Highland Council, Digital Tourism Scotland Programme – Scottish Enterprise, Biomass Fuel (Woodchips) Supply – NHS Grampian.
The SENs Weekly Update: We’re delighted to hear that P4P has secured continued funding for the year ahead. Initially funded as one of the SE Action Plan’s ‘early actions’, P4P has, in its first year, supported over 70 SEs/third sector orgs; held over 20 events reaching more than 600 orgs; established two consortia; and supported tender submissions for 7 contracts – winning two of them. With funding secured, P4P is now able to press ahead with recruitment of another P4P Co-ordinator – to fill the vacancy left open when George left us earlier in the year. This application pack includes a job description, application form as well as a copy of terms and conditions. Closing date for applications is Friday 25th May – with interviews taking place week commencing 4th June. For further info, contact email@example.com.
Senscot’s 18th AGM takes place on Friday 25th May 2018 (11am-1.30 pm) at the Scottish Youth Theatre, 105 Brunswick St, Glasgow G1 1TF. This year’s discussion will focus on resilience within our SE community – and will include contributions from speakers offering their perspectives on the challenges and opportunities being faced by grassroot social enterprises. Last year’s SE Census reflected a sector that – despite the hype – remains fragile for the vast majority. If you’d like to attend, please see booking form. The event is free – although, due to space, priority will be given to company members.
The SEN Community Bond Offer closes this Monday – 7th May. If you’d like to help SEs in addressing short-term cashflow issues; bridge funding gaps or developing new ideas, you can join over 60 like-minded ‘investors’ who have already purchased Bonds. Your support over these last few days is very much appreciated. See Bond Offer and application form – or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
A team at Glasgow Caley has produced a recent paper on SIBs – Critical Reflections on Social Impact Bonds. The paper contends that, despite the hype around SIBs, they present significant technical challenges – and, more importantly, ‘change the very nature of public and social services, effectively reducing citizens to commodities’. A view we would agree with. The paper also goes on the cite the Community Bond model as an option that could ‘represent a simpler way of increasing and widening sources of finance for public services without sacrificing or altering their essential moral character’.
Not sure if many people have heard of the People’s Bank of Govanhill – set up in 2015 to develop the idea of a local currency, which could be purchased with pay-as-you-can rates of Sterling and exchanged for goods and services in the community on select dates. We hear this week they have developed their ideas further and now plan to open a ‘swap market’ and, with funding from the Climate Change Fund, are now seeking a permanent base for this new venture. The Govanhill Swap Market will look to go beyond the usual exchanges of goods or produce and, in recognition of the diverse nature of the local community, also offer cultural exchanges, knowledge exchange and language exchange.
This week’s bulletin profiles a new enterprise, based in Glasgow, that aims to address the gender imbalance in the creative industries by helping start-up businesses and artists become self-sufficient. Wild and Kind Studio (W&K) was set up in 2017 following a start-up grant from Firstport and operates as a ‘female-focused’ enterprise – working in collaboration with trans and non-binary people to offer support, deliver workshops and help artists create “ethical and empowering” merchandise. It is registered as a Community Interest Company – with all profits raised being fed directly back into the business, community and artists that they work with. One of W&K’s popular products is their customised tee-shirts – using no chemicals, no waste and a ‘cruelty-free’ approach from start to finish.
The central message of ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’ by Thomas Piketty.
“When the rate of return on capital exceeds the rate of growth of output and income, as it did in the nineteenth century and seems quite likely to do again in the twenty-first, capitalism automatically generates arbitrary and unsustainable inequalities that radically undermine the meritocratic values on which democratic societies are based………. The second conclusion, which is the heart of the book, is that there is no natural, spontaneous process to prevent destabilizing, inegalitarian forces from prevailing permanently.”
That’s all for this week.
Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210