Senscot Bulletin: 04.10.13

Dear members and friends,

Saturday noon – Stockbridge Edinburgh – window seat in Bell’s Diner – peacefully awaiting my cheeseburger. Very drunk man stumbles in – starts babbling; obviously knows me – looks familiar: “Buzz from Wester Hailes”, he says. “Gosh, so it is”, I say – big smiles. He smells bad – so I walk him outside into sunshine – chat for a bit. I knew this man as a boy – 30 years ago; a smart, bouncy lad – bit of a scamp; we liked each other. He looks in a bad way.
 Tory Conference told us, this week, that they’re going to further squeeze the long term unemployed – loud cheers; TUC says that the new measures will address 0.15% of the welfare budget – that it’s just entertainment for the toffs. The truth is that very few people don’t want to work; is it wrong to want meaningful work – for decent money. When I meet young people, I urge them to find something they love with passion; to master it – to make that their job – then work will nourish their entire lives.
 If I spent an hour with Buzz (sober) – I wonder if I would glimpse again his buried creative side. I wonder if he has ever been paid a living wage to do anything he enjoyed. The free market economy takes no prisoners; gross inequalities and social fragmentation has left thousands of people in Scotland marooned like Buzz – not knowing ‘what they’re for’. It would be nice to think that we’re all going to come through this together – but some won’t make it.

Ed Miliband’s determination to challenge the monopolistic energy suppliers – risks taking public debate back to exhausted territories; the ideological struggle between state intervention and big business. But the increasing profile of social enterprise, offers the alternative – that essential utilities should be entrusted to ‘not for dividend’ organisations in the social economy (Welsh Water is an example). See,  A further refinement is the ‘community energy model’ advocated in this letter to the Independent by 7 third sector leaders in England. Even more so in Scotland – there is a ‘never in history’ opportunity to link renewable energy generation with community empowerment. Scottish Govt fails to see the true potential of this. See,

I’m a fan of David Marquand (79) – former MP, academic, political writer – doggedly social democratic and pro-European. He has written in this week`s New Statesman about the possibility of Britain’s exit from Europe (he calls it Brexit). The English, he says, still harbor deluded thoughts of empire: “a myth of glorious, insular self-sufficiency”. The Scots and Welsh view Europe more as an opportunity than threat; he concludes that an English decision to exit – would lead to a break-up of the UK. See,

In the autumn of 1997, Neal Ascherson (81) and William McIlvanney (77) were among a group of writers, musicians, artists and academics who did a bus tour around Scotland – to inspire non-partisan debate about devolution. Last Saturday, at the Wigtownshire book festival – they told Sally Magnusson that ‘the bus is back’ – riding towards the Referendum. See,

I see from their website that Richard Holloway (80) has signed up as a Common Weal supporter; he joins an impressive range of well kent faces. Sunday’s Herald said that now the Labour Party wants to look at the Nordic model of ‘social democracy plus’. Common Weal seems to be attracting a range of single issue groups – as a kind of ‘radical wrapper’ – greater than the sum of its parts.

The idea has been around for some time at Senscot – of hosting a seminar on ‘Failure’ –  3 or 4 Scottish social enterprises, which have ‘come a cropper’ in recent times – exploring among supportive peers, the reasons for failure.  Don’t you think this would be a sign of maturity in our community?  Any volunteers?  David Floyd has blogged on this theme.  See,

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  This week:
JOBS: Community Enterprise, WHALE Arts, The Surefoot Effect CIC, The Church of Scotland, Scottish Drugs Form, Community Transport Glasgow, miEnterprise Lothian, Remake Scotland
EVENTS: Out of the Blue Arts Market, 5 Oct; Portobello Market, 5 Oct; Glasgay! 2013: The Gates: Love, Liberation and Respect, 9 Oct; An Introduction to Tendering, 22 Oct;
TENDERS: The Provision of a Support Service for Young Homeless People – Stirling Council, Redevelopment of Website + Consultancy – Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority and Coordination of Hearty Lives Inverclyde – NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde. See,

NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: This year’s SE Conference and Ceilidh (Westerwood Hotel – 14th/15th November) is approaching capacity. As things stand, there are only a few overnight places available – plus 20 day delegate places. If you’re keen to come along, contact to avoid missing out. We also have an updated programme available. See,  The Dragons’ Den prize is £5k as usual – with this year’s sponsors being RBS; KibbleWorks; Employers for Childcare; and Firstport. If you’d like to pitch your idea to the Dragons, see  Deadline for applications is Friday 18th October.  For more SENs News, see

From 2014, a new tranche of European Funding will be available in Scotland – and, for the first time, there is explicit reference to social enterprise and community-led local development and the role they can play in ‘complementing public sector efforts, and being pioneers in developing new markets’. Currently, there are three ‘Shadow Strategic Delivery Partnerships’ set up to govern and shape the investment of new funds in Scotland. SCVO was given the task – and funding – to co-ordinate the third sector’s input to this process – and has raised concerns about the Partnerships being public sector dominated. The social enterprise community is similarly concerned about its own lack of engagement. See,

Senscot banks with Triodos – who this week held their AGM in Bristol with an impressive turnout of over 500 investors and savers. Apart from reporting buoyant trading figures, CEO Charles Middleton stated that those in attendance were “we’re united by a single common goal; one that aims to bring about cultural and social changes to the world in which we live”. The event was a celebration of an alternative form of banking. See,  Amongst its portfolio, Triodos has also launched a ‘bond issue’ with the UKs largest social enterprise Greenwich Leisure.  See,

The Art of Hosting – Scotland ( ) will be running a three day event in Perthshire next month, titled “Participatory Leadership and transformational change in Scotland”. The programme will be looking at building the capacity for community organisational and business leaders across Scotland to respond in innovative and collaborative ways to the increasingly challenges we face. If you’re interested,

This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise in Arbroath that is operated by Enable Scotland. Darling’s Coffee Shop opened last year in the local High Street. It provides an opportunity for young people in Angus who have a learning disability to develop employability skills, boosting their confidence and helping to increase their potential to secure meaningful employment. Although operating for just over 12 months, Darling’s has already been recognised in the Scottish Home Baking Awards, where it won the Outstanding Achievement award – with the trophy now proudly displayed in the cafe. See more,

“My Daddy used to say, ‘Honey, find something you love to do and then figure out a way to get paid for it.’ He understood that where your true passion is, there your joy is also. And a joyful life is a truly successful life. Perhaps not by the world’s standards, but whose life is it anyway?” Kathie  Lee Gifford ( American TV Host)

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”  Steve Jobs (Founder of Apple)

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