Senscot Bulletin 04-07-2003

JULY 2003


Dear Members and friends,


My family came from the small southern Italian hill town of
Picinisco – as did many Italian Scots. 
By an extraordinary coincidence the writer D H Lawrence visited and
wrote about Picinisco in the winter of 1919 – the year my nonno Demarco
left.  Lawrence is unsparing about ‘the
darkness of the savage little hill town’. 
The hill peasants are ‘watchful, venomous, dangerous’ – he calls
Picinisco ‘God-lost’.  My grandparents
always spoke with pride about the culture of their valley – but showed little
appetite to return.  Reading Lawrence helped
me understand the desperate poverty they escaped from.

            Since the
EEC, Picinisco is a prosperous place – last time I was there I caused a
commotion in the piazza.  As I approach
a group of old guys, one of them gets agitated – pointing and shouting at
me.  Folk gather round and explain that
he has mistaken me for some Demarco long dead. 
“He says it’s the way you walk!” 
This incident changes the way I see myself – proves me a bairn of this
once remote valley – decended from centuries of mountain people – with a deep
tribal memory.

            Last night
I have a vivid dream – looking down at a pair of magnificent eagles – riding
the thermals above a remote valley. 
This morning over coffee I say to Anne, “I dreamed again about the big
birds in the mountains”.  “Do I sense a
trip coming on?”  She asks.  It’s true – sometimes our unconscious gives
us prompts.  It may be time to head back
to the sierras of the south.



At the end of June, four of the brightest stars in the
Scottish Parliament agreed to form an ‘all-party group on the economy’. Wendy Alexander
(Labour), Murdo Fraser (Conservative), George Lyon (Scottish Liberal Democrats)
and Alex Neil (Scottish National Party) will share the chairing of this group
which will seek to engage with the both the academic and business communities.
We should welcome any initiative which could inject some passion into
Scotland’s turgid national debate on the economy.



On June 23 Martin Sime, Chief Executive of SCVO, wrote:
“Your reference to SCVO in the latest newsletter is a little unfair, so please
allow me to set the record straight. 
Also, it seems that there may be some bigger issues lurking here which
really do deserve a wider airing.” At his request, Martin’s letter is posted at

            For me
there is still an issue as to whether any single organisation can realistically
represent the diverse range of activities and organisations which we call ‘the
voluntary sector’. In my response to Martin I reiterated that Senscot sees it’s
rôle outwith the formal structures of representation: “The emerging Scottish
Social Enterprise Coalition has, however, been created expressly to
represent/lobby, and your point about ‘parallel universes’ may well arise.
Senscot has only a minor rôle in SSEC but would see it as more ‘in tune’ with
what we do than the wider voluntary sector. In England, the potential for
confusion is avoided by social enterprise being supported in the Department of
Trade and Industry.”



One of Senscot’s earliest supporters was Scottish
Enterprise, with much-needed project funding over the period 2001-03. A few
months ago SE commissioned Simon Clark Associates to conduct a short appraisal
of the effect of its investment and how the SE-Senscot relationship might go
forward. A provisional last draft of Simon’s has completed his review is posted
on our site at
He astutely identifies a key challenge: “We can say that Senscot is now a
network, firmly established in the eyes of its members, but can it move on from
a ‘current of information’ to a deeper variety of interaction that engages
members directly in developing and implementing mutual ventures? A network
takes off and begins to assume a life of its own when the prompts come from all
parts and it is no longer reliant on prodding from the centre. Experience from
elsewhere suggests that if members are to become pro-active, Senscot will need
to fashion some roles they can play in order to entice more self-generated
activity.” Senscot thanks all those gave time to respond to this review.



YELLOW PAGES: Space constraints mean we can’t
carry every notice you send. But please send in any relevant items and we’ll
post it on our site (Send in your items to
This week:


Business: CHE are looking for new premises in Edinburgh. The
Big House on Gigha is for sale.


Jobs: 27 vacancies, including posts at the Scottish
Community Development Centre, The Southern uplands Partnership, SCVO and Capability


Reports: “Social co-operatives in Italy: lessons for the
UK”, newly available from Social Enterprise London.


Events:  Scottish
Borders Rural Partnership, “Building Vibrant Rural Communities Together”, on 18th
September 2003.  Falkirk College is
planning an Enterprise Open Day, October 8 2003.


For details on these and more:



Now that we’re into July folk are starting to go on holiday
(Aidan and Angus are away with the weans) and the flow of e-mails has slowed –
even the Spam.  Reports continue to
emerge, however that you may wish to check out.  Some months ago we told you that the Social Enterprise Unit at
the DTI was keen to encourage national consistency in the way social
enterprises are mapped.  The consultants
Ecotec have now produced their recommendations (see
The Scottish Executive doesn’t use the term social enterprise so it’s difficult
to understand how Scotland can synchronise our mapping.  Recent reports from Forth Sector and CEIS,
includes sections which discuss the context for Social Enterprise in
Scotland.  A page extracted from the
CEIS document is posted at
Forth Sector are the lead partners in the successful Social Enterprise
Development Initiative (SEDI)  and their
first year’s ‘Lessons Learned’ report includes a useful appendix which itemises
the eighteen types of organisations which it suggests make up the social enterprise



This week’s bulletin profiles an Edinburgh based production
company set up to help deaf and hearing-impaired people wishing to develop a
career in the film or television industry. Sound Barrier Productions has been
established by Scotland unLTD awardee, Fraser Stewart and will provide training
courses in scriptwriting and video production. Sound Barrier Productions is
also working in partnership with Edinburgh Mediabase and Queen Margaret
University College and will be looking to develop scripts for films, video,
theatre and documentaries. Sound Barrier is also involved with corporate
clients in developing deaf awareness corporate videos to emphasis the positive
aspects of this community of people. For further information:
(‘Project Profiles’)



Brian Tannerhill, CEO of the award winning McSence, is
convinced that a group of us should put our heads together and create a new
Scottish National Social Enterprise which would engage the support of
communities all across Scotland.  One
idea for such a business – there will be others – would be around the recycling
of household waste – kerbside collection and sorting in regional depots.  All the Local Authorities have recycling targets
that they are struggling to meet and such an enterprise may well attract
support.  If there is enough interest
Senscot will host a meeting.



Glasgow musician Jim Kerr was asked recently why the Scottish
music scene was in the doldrums and replied, “Desire – we need desire. To stop
Simple Minds you would have needed to put a bullet in our heads. Nothing was
going to stop us. We were mad for it.”


Last quote this week is one I’m fond of using: “We may dream
– but we are not dreamers. Of course, we have a dream, but we are entrepreneurs
– we make things happen – we will either find a way – or make one.”


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

Best wishes,



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