Senscot Bulletin: 04.09.09

Dear members and friends,

One thing about the good old Costa del Sol – you get what it says on the tin – mucho sol. Every day this week – clear blue skies – temperature moving between 75 and 85 degrees; not the fierce blast of July/August – but still total, wraparound  – `get your kegs off` heat. The flat I’ve got this time is a bit `tired` – but there’s a fine terrace and everything improves in this all forgiving sunshine.
 This complex is a well run British enclave  – established in the early 1970s on a beach near Estepona; a kind of mock Andalusian village with beautifully kept gardens. Within walking distance is a real Spanish pueblo, Cancelada, where I’m having supper this evening at Casa Miguel – sat outside – watching the evening `paseo` – lots of children playing in the street. Older folk will remember this as a gritty working class barrio – with real poverty – but now it looks fairly prosperous. Watching people, I get the sense that `La Familia` is still central in Spanish culture – more than back home. From their confidence and vitality, it’s clear that these children feel highly prized – secure – a joy to watch.
 9pm now – balmy evening – sunset on my terrace – camomile tea – songbirds heading home – sweet smell of jasmine – murmur of contented nightcaps from other terraces – now a pair of bats doing acrobatics. Only been here 4 days – already I can feel something healing in my `heid`.

If you work in front line services among poor people, you will know that many of our fellow citizens have no purposeful activity – no dignified engagement with their community. The market and the social welfare system, essentially discard people with no marketable value. It was Edgar Cahn`s great insight to articulate that, alongside the mainstream economy, there is a vast parallel system – a non market economy – on which the whole structure of families, communities and democracy depend. Cahn invented and put in place the international Time Banking movement as a bridge between the market and non market realms. His book, `No More Throw-away People` (and his concept of `co-production`) is an inspiring reminder that everyone, even the least of us, has something to contribute. Senscot is honoured that Edgar Cahn will address our 10th birthday AGM. As I write, there are a few places left. If interested, contact  Here’s a review of Edgar’s book, See this year’s Agenda, papers etc

Senscot has been a long-term supporter of the campaign for a Community Allowance, whereby benefit claimants can earn some money for community work without affecting their benefits. We mentioned a couple of months back that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) had invited the Create Consortium to submit a bid to run a pilot programme. Create is now looking for three community organisations to become partners in this pilot. It would be good for one of them to be Scottish. See details

Social Investment Scotland (SIS) last week announced the latest successful applicants to the Investment Fund – Spartans Community Football Academy and The Calman Trust receiving around£1.2m capital investment between them. See press release
SIS has also published the findings of its recent survey on social enterprises` future development plans and attitude to loan finance. The findings reflect a growing maturity within the sector with over 90% of respondents looking to expand their operations and 55% considering loan finance as a means to achieve these aims. See Report

Last year, Senscot produced a series of case studies showcasing the benefits of social enterprises in delivering health services effectively and efficiently. This year, we’ve updated a number of these as well as including six new ones. See full document

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: The Scottish Government, Depression Alliance Scotland (DAS), Edinburgh Cyrenians, Castle Furniture Project, Scottish Drugs Recovery Consortium, YMCA George Williams College, The GRAB Trust
EVENTS: Scotland’s constitutional future, Scottish Policy Innovation Forum, 4 Sep; Mental Health at Work, 9 Sep; Scaling up the Sector, 17 Sep;  Delivering Person Centred Services, 22 Sep; Basics of Being an Employer, 23 Sep; Central Scotland Forest Conference 2009, 30 Sep; Volunteer Recruitment Fair, 1 Oct

NETWORKS NEWS:  Colin writes: The second Vital Stats Survey has now been completed for Aberdeen SEN. The turnover of the 8 organisations who have submitted their information is almost £20m of which 63% is generated through contracts. The eight orgs have 873 employees, 97 trainees and 352 volunteers between them. Combined turnover for Aberdeen and Tayside SENs is an impressive £27m. We’re keen to carry out `Vital Stats` on all LSENs , so if you feel your ready to go ahead, contact  For more Networks News, see

Ready for Business is a new initiative involving Senscot, CEiS and Social Firm Scotland to promote Community Benefit Clauses and to offer support to social enterprises in building consortia with a view to opening up procurement opportunities for the sector. If you’d like to register your interest, see  The initiative was launched on Wednesday at CEiS`
Social Enterprise Business Models Conference in Glasgow with almost 200 folk attending. Colin’s highlight was keynote speaker Kevin Lynch from Rebuild Resources in Minnesota. See more, 

Climate change is a global phenomenon but increasingly the first step towards tackling it is seen as local. More good news for Scotland’s community sector with the announcement of the latest Climate Challenge Fund awards. This round sees thirty seven projects across Scotland receive £3.5 million to tackle climate change in their communities. This takes the total allocated up to £12m with over 150 communities benefiting. Here’s the latest list

As well as our own AGM this month, Social Firms Scotland (SFS) is also holding its own Annual General Meeting – 17th September at the Teachers Building in St Enoch’s Square, Glasgow (10am kick off). The day will include a series on workshops on sustainability, acquisitions and access to funding. Keynote speaker is Mike Finlayson from Forth Sector. For more, see
This week’s bulletin profiles a member of the Tayside SEN that has been supporting young people in Dundee and Angus for over 25 years. Helm Training provides a range of targeted training, lifeskills and workplace skills aimed at helping young people aged between 15-19 years. Projects include a recent allotment initiative involving home-grown produce and healthy eating. Around 200 young people are supported every year with many going on to full-time employment or education. For more,

I enjoyed the interview with Francis Wheen in Saturday’s Guardian Review – particularly his stories about working for Private Eye.

“Paul Foot always came back to the Eye because he said it was the closest things to press freedom he’d ever come across……. There’s a 1962 letter on file from Tony Benn, saying he had enjoyed reading this new magazine but wondered when it would get `a point of view`. By this he meant a consistent political line, thus rather missing the point. It does have a point of view, but not one that can be classified as left or right or whatever. It’s a point of view in favour of mischief, bracing scepticism about official announcements and a belief that public figures should be scrutinised. That’s all it really needs, because that is pretty much what journalism is.” See full interview,

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

Best wishes,

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