Senscot Bulletin: 04.07.14

Dear members and friends,


            Bit too much going on last week – Brazil, Wimbledon, Glastonbury; escape into the garden on Sunday – looking its best in bright sunshine.  Dozens of foxgloves – mainly self-seeded – are showing off; the fragrance of cut grass, sweet peas, lavenders, thymes.  The big daisies are all opening now – even the lawn looks happy.
            At 4pm, I’m indoors to watch Dolly Parton strutting her stuff at Glasto; for some reason the BBC decides that we must all wait an hour – till the start of the Netherlands/Mexico game – so end up switching constantly between Dolly and the footie.  Music concerts are not my thing – but get caught up in the sheer scale and power of the common experience; how much we all want to sing ‘Jolene’; to feel something together – in the moment.  She carries it off brilliantly.
            Following her Glasto set – BBC runs her biography – Platinum Blonde – which leaves me feeling so sad.  It’s about a wee girl – 4th of 12 children – from a rural Appalachian family of sharecroppers – one senses real poverty.  We are left wondering if a lifelong search for attention – for whatever our childhood lacked – can ever be satisfied.  Of course – at this level of scrutiny – none of us is much different.  Raymond Carver: “and did you get what you wanted from this life even so.  Yes I did.  And what did you want?  To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth”. Is this not where we’re all trying to go; some journeys seemingly more round-about and mysterious than others.    


The European Commission’s guidelines for the 2014-20 Structural Funds includes a welcome emphasis on social enterprise – reflected in Scottish Govt’s Operational Programme; but this hasn’t pleased everyone. SCVO – last week – chose to challenge Scottish Govt – not only on its frequent references to social enterprise but specifically in its use of the Scottish Code – as its definition of SE – suggesting  the requirement of an asset lock is too restrictive. See,  As the Code’s intro explains – its express purpose is to discourage commercial companies – in pursuit of public contracts – from calling themselves SEs; the asset lock offers a clear boundary – locating SE unambiguously in the third sector. See,  SCVO’s position on this is odd. Some folk, mostly down south, argue for ‘partial’ profit distribution – but the Scottish view has been that this risks opening a `can of worms’. The Code Working Group is drawn from across our SE community – there has been talk of re-convening – to speak of community shares and the like; but we are unaware of any appetite to dilute the asset lock.


I’ve taken to asking people how they intend to vote – all very friendly – no-one seems to mind; it’s the number of ‘undecided’ which surprises me. The linked article suggests – that of 4 million registered voters – 40% say they’ll vote ‘No’ – 30% say ‘Yes’; this leaves around 30% ‘undecided’ – a ‘middle million’ who will effectively decide the independence issue. Many of the folk I speak to – agree in principle with independence – but are afraid we’ll fall on our face. The most common reason they give for their lack of confidence – is the calibre of political leadership – which is widely and openly mocked. Regardless of the referendum – we need to find a way of attracting folk with vision and moral purpose to public life. Scotland has a proud history of such leaders. Don’t think of the next 5/10 years, I say to switherers – think of 50 years – your grandchildren’s generation. See,


The Law Commission in England is currently reviewing charity legislation – with particular regard to making it easier for trustees to make social investments; they mean by this investing in other asset-locked organisations. In Scotland, Senscot and others – are promoting the development of just such third sector-led social investment: discussed here, Our work would be greatly assisted if the Scottish Govt were to consider similar legislation. This is a summary of the English consultation document. See,
Hands up if you’ve heard of the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust (HWDT) – which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year; it remains the only cetacean monitoring scheme of its kind in the UK (hands up if you know what a cetacean is?). This short piece about the charity’s Sea Change project – great name – helped me appreciate the extent of the natural marine assets off Scotland’s west coast. See,
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week: 
JOBS: Instant Neighbour, Firstport, Gowrie Care, Glasgow Building Preservation Trust, East Dunbartonshire Association for Mental Health.
EVENTS: Suffragette Jewellery Making Workshop, Glasgow Women’s Library, 24 Jul; Media Training – Talk Action, 10 Jul; INSP Conference, International Network of Street Papers, 12 Aug
TENDERS: Community Enterprise Park Business Case – Sustaining Dunbar, Care and Repair Handyperson Service – North Lanarkshire Council and Print and Scan for Renfrewshire Valuation Joint Board – Renfrewshire Council;


The SENs Weekly Update; Kim writes (from a lounger in Rhodes): Many thanks to those of you who have already participated in our SE and Tourism survey. To date, around 70 SEN members have participated – from just about every local authority area. Initial feedback suggests that this is an area of considerable interest for a good number of SEN members as well as an area with plenty potential for development. The feedback also indicates, however, that very few SEs are linked into tourism bodies either at a local or national level. To build a stronger evidence base, we’d appreciate even more responses from SEN members. The survey itself comprises 10 short questions and only takes a few minutes to complete. Thanks for your co-operation. See, For more on this, contact . For more SENs News, see


One of Senscot Legal’s main areas of work has been (and remains) company formation – particularly for new social enterprises. This has brought to light a number of the regulatory challenges with regard to SEs becoming charities and vice versa. To clarify things – and to make the process easier and quicker to navigate for all parties – Senscot Legal and OSCR have put together a joint statement that seeks to address these issues. See,  For more info, contact   


Still on EU funding, Sandy Watson (Scottish Enterprise) kindly hosted a workshop in Edinburgh last week to give an overview of EU funding streams to support SE and social innovation. See background and links to presentations,  Also attached is a link to EU SEN’s own report of its recent gathering in Glasgow – including presentation by Yvonne Strachan (Scottish Govt). See, . As awareness of the new tranche of funding grows, SEs will be looking for more details in the coming months. Funds themselves will be available in 2015/16.


We’re not big on awards but every now and then one jumps out that deserves a mention. Our pal, David Cook (WASPS) recently picked up the Ernst Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. Well done, David.


Stop Press: a helpful guide on social investment options for SEs in Scotland has been produced by the BIG Lottery (Scotland) and Firstport. See,


This week’s bulletin profiles an enterprise that acts as a resource service for third sector organisations by arranging and setting up charity and fundraising events. Events for Charities (EfC) has years of experience in creating and supporting charities and third sector organisations to raise funds & awareness for their given charity. EfC started 2 years ago and is looking to build on its experiences to help groups and organisations wanting to put on an event – both to a professional standard – and with a minimum amount of stress. Recent activity includes events on behalf of Yorkhill Children’s Foundation; Poppy Scotland; Cue and Review; as well as the Clutha Benefit weekend. For more, see


Thich Nhat Hanh – the Vietnamese Buddhist monk and teacher must be 88 now; his books introduced me to an understanding of mindfulness. This is the opening para of his treatise on washing dishes – one of my favourite quotes:


“To my mind, the idea that doing dishes is unpleasant can occur only when you aren’t doing them. Once you are standing in front of the sink with your sleeves rolled up and your hands in the warm water, it is really quite pleasant. I enjoy taking my time with each dish, being fully aware of the dish, the water, and each movement of my hands. I know that if I hurry in order to eat dessert sooner, the time of washing dishes will be unpleasant and not worth living. That would be a pity, for each minute, each second of life is a miracle. The dishes themselves and that fact that I am here washing them are miracles!”
See full quote,



That’s all for this week.
Best wishes,




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Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210