Senscot Bulletin: 04.07.08

Dear members and friends,

They’ve opened a gigantic B&Q 10 minutes away – I’m drawn there like a child to a toy shop – spend hours browsing – dreaming of projects – all trades interest me – their gear and tackle and trim.  Tuesday I spend £54 – get a voucher for free coffee and pastry.  Café is quiet – counter assistant, Muriel, likes to talk – but she’s so good natured it’s a pleasure.  Her husband George is an electrician – they have twin boys aged 10.  She loves them – they love her – from this core she exudes a quality of joy – tell her so; when she hears I live alone she is sad for me.
 Most folk seem to dread living alone – but I enjoy it; the freedom to be myself – to discover myself.  I sometimes wonder about unrealised aspects of ourselves which we have not yet become.  As the years pass, we tend to settle into a comfort zone – have I still the appetite for adventure – ‘‘and we shall not cease from exploration……..’’.  If I could choose a new self for the future, I’d like to be the Dalai Lama.  Not his job – no thanks – but Tenzin Gyatso is transparently the real thing – a good and serene monk.  I have a recurring fear of being visited by a deep discouragement – which I suspect was around my early years.  As an antidote, I’d like to cultivate spiritual detachment.  To get there, I’m prepared to go on one of those silent Buddhist retreats – wear a saffron robe – but I suspect serenity is harder won than that.  If Muriel heard this – she’d think I’ve gone wonky – I sometimes wonder.

The government’s new £30m Scottish Investment Fund will probably make around 70 one-off investments over the next 3 years – averaging around £400k each.  The objective is a Premier Division of Third Sector businesses with the capacity and stability to become serious deliveries of public services.  The cred of our whole movement depends on these hundred odd exemplars being good enough – providing better value than public or private sector competitors.  In addition, the new £12m Enterprise Fund – alongside thematic streams like: Increase, Wider Action, Climate Change, Lottery etc – could see a further 200 Social Enterprises get investments of up to £100K each.  It’ll be interesting to see who steps up to the plate. 

Senscot’s board of directors has decided to seek unrestricted funding of £25K per annum from 5 core sponsors –investing £5K each.  We are looking for a 3 year relationship with 5 businesses which trade with Scotland’s Third Sector – preferably themselves social enterprises or mutual’s – whose activities we can unreservedly promote.  We believe that our reach and position in the Scottish sector would benefit the business of our core sponsors.  We have already identified 3 sponsors – 2 slots remain.  It is a condition that none of the 5 are in competition.  We are keen to work alongside a firm of solicitors who specialize in social enterprise development. If you’d like to chat about this, contact Aidan on 0131-220-4104

Under First ScotRail’s ‘adopt-a-station’ scheme – Maxwell Park station in Glasgow’s southside is to be made available to a suitable charitable tenant at a peppercorn rent.  Glasgow Building Preservation Trust is doing an ‘Options Appraisal’ on the internal refurb of the station and project development officer Gill Stewart can answer any queries.

This week, Scottish Government has published two pieces of social research emanating from the Futurebuilders programme – The evaluation of Futurebuilders Scotland and a Scoping Study on Support for Social Enterprise Start-Ups. Both pieces of work were carried out by EKOS. For the research findings, see

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but submit jobs and events and we’ll post them on our site. See This week: 
JOBS: 20 vacancies, incl. posts with: Social Investment Scotland, Church of St John the Evangelist,  The Big Issue, Govanhill Youth Project, Business Community Connections, Social Enterprise Academy, Feat Enterprises, CRNS, Dumbarton Road Corridor Environment Trust
EVENTS: 15 events Social Marketing – programs for achieving social change, Clydebank Canal Festival, 5 July, Clydebank; 11 Jul, Edinburgh; Summer Networking BBQ for New Social Entrepreneurs, 16 Jul, Glasgow; More Than Furniture 08 – Bigger, Better, Bolder, 27 Aug, Glasgow; Social Enterprise World Forum, 5 Sep, Edinburgh; Learning Without Limits, 12 Sep, Angus; Community Funding launches, Sep-Oct, various locations; Blairgowrie & East Perthshire Walking Festival, 12 Oct, East Perthshire

NETWORKS 1st: Since April, Senscot has been looking to step up its work in supporting the Networks. This has been helped hugely by the arrival of Anna Roscoe. We are now able to attend more meetings and also to arrange visits to individual social enterprises. Main events for the year are taking shape with the Ceilidh (20th Nov), `Fit for Purpose` (3rd March) and Social Enterprise `Fringe` (4th Sept). Over the summer, we will be exploring ways in which LSENs can link up better with one another and also promote their services. These will involve creating a `Virtual Workspace` and `Social Purchasing Portal` for LSEN members. We’ll be canvassing your views over the summer.
The Social Enterprise Academy has opened a new office base in Inverness. From their new Highland office, the Academy will be offering a number of fully-funded programmes and modules all over the Highlands & Islands in an effort to help develop the growing number of social businesses and SMEs in more rural areas of Scotland. The office will house new staff members – Lorna Dinning as Financial Administrator, Roddy Dyce as Learning Administrator. The Programme Manager, Nicola Welsh, will continue to be based in Oban

The idea that the ownership of water should pass to the private sector as a trading commodity – I find outrageous!  This excellent piece about the governance of water argues for legislation to enshrine Scottish water for all time as a common good in community control.

The top 10 green gurus of the UK’s green building movement have been selected by a panel of experts from a long list of 40.  Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud makes the list at No. 9 for his work in bringing sustainable construction to the masses.

This week’s bulletin profiles a community car loan scheme in Clackmannanshire. MOTOR-Vation Community Cars Ltd started in April of this year following a successful pilot (Wheels to Work) run in the area by Trans-Fife Community Transport. With many local people experiencing difficulty travelling outwith the area to secure employment, MOTRO-Vation provides vehicles on a short-term loan basis (up to 10 weeks). This can allow people to secure and retain new employment positions. For more, see

The words of Scottish poet Sheila Templeton from ‘‘Cleave: new writings by women in Scotland’’.
“This freedom to live wherever I choose probably sums me up.  I feel free, now into my seventh decade, to be myself.  Or as much of myself as I’ve yet discovered!  And that frees me up to write.
I do find now a sort of linking-up going on in my process, a re-discovering of who I was as a child, in all that sharpness and colour.  It’s the TS Eliot ‘coming back to where we started’.  It’s wonderful…………..
Who I am today has been shaped by where I began.  I had a nomadic and, in some ways, strangely fractured childhood, but the constant factor was always my grandmother in Aberdeenshire.  Even now, I find myself pulled up North to that big sky, to surround myself with ‘Buchan spik’, to feel myself a child again.”

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

Best wishes,

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