Senscot Bulletin: 04.08.17

Dear members and friends,
Read this week that Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe goes back to 1947 – when I was a schoolboy – and ‘art’ was Gordon Smith not William Shakespeare. But I can remember the Paperback bookshop, opened by Jim Haynes in 1959; the Penguin Lady Chatterley trial in 1960; the founding of the Traverse Theatre in 1962 by Haynes, John Calder and Richard Demarco – which quickly set standards for the Fringe.  What has become the world’s largest arts festival, owes much to the vision and boldness of some early pioneers.
            Nowadays, ‘the Fringe’ comprises thousands of companies from around the world – sharing 300 venues.  In 1965, when less than 50 companies shared, maybe, two dozen venues – I had an 80 seater restaurant on the Royal Mile called ‘the Bothy’; the late Peter Mallan, with his fine baritone voice, used it to stage his successful show: ‘Loons, Lochs and Leprechauns’.  This experience – chatting to performers and audiences around the city – opened me to the creative potential of the Fringe as an annual gathering for dreamers, misfits, dissidents.
            I’ve always felt a natural affinity with being ‘a fringe player’; not a fringe where timid people hide unnoticed – but where bold people can explore new ways of doing stuff – whither a new play by Tom Stoppard – or a new ploy for helping people with rubbish lives.  There will always be those who want to establish and enforce ‘rules’ – and those who want to make-them-up as they go along; we need both types.  But the new stuff – the innovation – is going to come from the outriders.


In this short Observer interview – Neal Ascherson says "to see people suddenly wanting to participate in their future, was probably the most moving thing I’ve ever seen"; he’s remembering the level of political engagement which gripped Scotland during the 2014 independence referendum. Since then, (apart from the Greens) every opposition party has used our parliament to abuse the option of Scottish independence by intentionally conflating it with the domestic performance of the SNP administration; this strategy appears to have worked. So the cause for independence now needs to develop its own leadership and momentum – uncoupled from the policies and effectiveness of the SNP. Lesley Riddoch and Carolyn Leckie discuss the prospects of a wider movement.


As an organisation grows in size – so ‘branches’ become more remote from the centre – through increasingly complex line management. One of the most dramatic solutions to this is practised by the Buurtzorg organisation in the Netherlands – where each of the 600 operational teams (each not more than 12 people) is an autonomous, self-managing unit. (Senscot first noticed Buurtzorg in 2015). Most impressed by this account from Edel Harris – of how the Cornerstone organisation has wholeheartedly embraced the spirit of the Buurtzorg model – and alongside Scottish govt and others – is exploring its applicability to social care in Scotland. One to watch.


While the reasons for an individual ‘sleeping rough’ can be personal and complex – this should not distract us from the disgraceful failure of politicians to put in place an adequate supply of social housing; rough sleepers cause us to feel ashamed. Over the years, I’ve been watching expectantly for pre-fabricated, factory built, housing units to move into mass production – help solve the shortage; it’s been disappointingly slow. This Guardian article suggests that things are beginning to move – particularity a new massive factory near Leeds with a potential capacity of 4000 units annually. If only the housing market was driven my human need rather than profit.


Watching from the UK, it is incomprehensible that Donald Trump is still in office; I think of him as little as possible. Want to believe this piece by Kevin Pringle (political pundit) – which argues that events are so chaotic and inconsistent that history will remember this presidency as having made no difference: ‘all sound and fury, signifying nothing’. On the other hand – Ian Macwhirter in the Herald is more concerned; If a thick -skinned and determined demagogue, is able to face-down all the checks and balances of the vaunted US constitution – what does this mean for democracy ‘across what used to be called the Free World’.


NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:


JOBS: Social Investment Scotland, Social Enterprise Academy, DTA Scotland, Spruce Carpets, ROCK TRUST, Out of the Blue Arts and Education Trust, Grampian Employment Opportunities, Action Porty.


EVENTS: Portobello Market, 05 Aug; Fife Soup 1, 01 Sep; Friday Night is Bistro Night, 01 Sep; DTA Scotland Annual Conference & AGM 2017, 04 Sep; Pop-up-Cafe Lunch Tues 5th September, 05 Sep.


TENDERS: Communications Support for Recycling and Waste Service Changes – Shetlands Council, Positive Emotional Wellbeing Support Service – Scottish Borders Council
Join the Ready for Business Linked-In group and follow on Twitter.
The SENs Weekly Update: The Ready for Business Consortium (CEIS, Social Firms Scotland and Senscot) has, over the last number of years, led the delivery of the Govt’s Developing Markets Programme. This contract came to an end in March 2017. However, the Govt has provided Ready for Business with some continued funding to provide advice and support to organisations interested in the Public Social Partnership (PSP) model – via a PSP Helpdesk. If your organisation is interested in re-designing a service or finding an innovative way to improve the experience of service users – please contact the PSP Helpdesk for more info’.


Last week’s bulletin piece on SIS and its appeal for greater support for the ‘profit for purpose’ model seems to have caused a bit of a stir. Our intention was merely to highlight – as the recent SE Strategy for Scotland does – the clear distinction between social enterprise and ‘profit for purpose’ models and that this distinction was being acknowledged by those who champion such models. Recognising, acknowledging and respecting this distinction will, we are sure, lead to more productive working relations.


On a similar theme, SE UK’s has, this week, produced a helpful and informative Social Enterprise Guide for start-ups, aimed – it appears – at a UK-wide audience. If that is the case, SE UK should also be acknowledging, as a matter of courtesy, that SE is defined differently in different parts of the UK – certainly in Scotland – maybe in Northern Ireland and Wales – and maybe even in other parts of England too.


One of the main events in our SE calendar is the CEIS SE Policy & Practice Conference which takes place each September in Glasgow – although this year (its 11th) sees a new venue – SVS 200. The event has built a reputation for launching new initiatives with a significant bearing on the sector in Scotland. This year, it will be the unveiling of the SE Census 2017. Cabinet Secretary, Angela Constance, is confirmed to speak and members of the Census Steering Group will be present to reflect on the Census’ findings. In addition, there will be, as always, a full and varied programme of workshops and presentations. To book, see full details.


This week’s bulletin profiles a new venture that has developed a new concept to tackle social issues such as; food poverty, social isolation as well as enhance the economic and social mobility of the community in a way that is community-led, achievable and sustainable. Well-Fed Scotland , based in the Whiteinch area of Glasgow, was set up earlier this year and is already operating its first community cafe within the Whiteinch Centre – offering customers fresh and healthy home cooked food at affordable prices – with all surplus income from the cafe being reinvested back into the local community.


Over the last 12 months, Senscot Legal has seen an increase in the number of organisations looking to engage their services on a ‘retainer’ basis.  These include specific pieces of legal support – with Senscot Legal also being available on an ad-hoc basis for a specific time period for any queries that arise.  There is a fixed fee payable in advance – tailored to suit your organisation.  Services include advice relating to governance; legal structure and set up; charity law; leases; employment law; and contracts.  If you are interested in finding out more, please email Karina Macleod or call on 0141 332 8084.


A quote from the film Dead Poets Society – Robin Williams as a teacher carrying ‘the fire’..,,,.
"No matter what anyone tells you, words and ideas can change the world……… We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for".
That’s all for this week.
Best wishes,




Subscribe to this bulletin:


To unsubscribe or change subscription address/ e-mail


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