Senscot Bulletin: 05.04.13

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Dear members and friends,

My friend Anne is a superb driver – seems to enjoy it – and this brings some fine, far-flung country lunches within our reach; Good Friday finds us in the village of Killin – an hour’s drive north west of Stirling.  Killin sits in a dramatic setting – looked over by two great Sentinels – Ben More and Ben Lawers; because traditional buildings have been respected – the village has character – stretching along the river Drochart – till it enters Loch Tay over the renowned Falls of Drochart. For lunch we happen into the family run Old Smiddy Inn – husband cooking, wife out front; the world over – family run is best.  Thanks Lynn for your gracious service – and you Michael for great scoff; your sticky toffee pudding is the new benchmark.
 In 5 weeks I’ll be 73 – as I get old I realise that affections (fondnesses) mean more to me now than concepts.  Easter Monday is my first session in the garden; ‘only for an hour’, I tell myself – but, in spite of a snell east wind, I’m out from 2 – 5pm.  Kneeling and weeding makes a powerful unconscious connection with me – deeply satisfying; trowel in hand, a forgotten fragment of liturgy comes to mind; the Latin phrase ‘recta sapere’ which I think means ‘to taste true things’.  The bed I’m weeding has been devastated by winter – but come summer it will be ablaze with colour.  This new life will happen of its own accord – without help from me.  For some reason – the simple awareness of this – makes me feel good. 

Copies of Laurence’s recent book still available – a selection of bulletin intro pieces (2007-12). If you’d like a copy, see

George Osborne says that the benefit cuts have popular support – but he may be confused by the rantings of the right wing press; here’s a particularly nasty passage from the Daily Mail – see, . Social democrats should be in no doubt that battle is engaged to shift the very basis of the UK social contract.  Ricky Tomlinson has written a piece challenging some of the more blatant lies in circulation – see,  I was scunnered this week to learn that David Miliband has earned a million pounds on top of his salary.  If it is true that our benefit system encourages some able bodied people to be idle – this need to be addressed; but the primary cause of dysfunction in our society is the levels of inequality which leading politicians now consider acceptable. 

They’re looking for a new chair for Big Society Capital (BSC); inevitably one wonders why the founding chair, Ronald Cohen, is standing down.  The ad refers to ‘social sector’ investment – which is a term invented by BSC – to embrace both regulated third sector organisations and unregulated private companies, which claim to produce ‘social impact’. See, . If you missed Vibeka Mair’s blog last week – it’s worth your attention; BSCs remit, she says, is not to fund the SE sector – but to grow a social investment market – which includes the corporate sector.  Ian Tuckett (of Coin St) has called for a new body – whose sole remit is to create a robust SE industry.  See,

It was announced last week that Scotland is to receive £672m in EU funding for the period 2014-20. This compares to £706m for 2007-13 but is £193m more than previously expected. Scottish Govt has already hosted a series of meetings/events across the country on this topic. These events had little or no representation from either the social enterprise or community sectors. With specific reference to social enterprise and community-led local development in the new guidelines, we need to be getting our act together. See,

The 200 residents of Jura are celebrating the saving of the islands only shop – by taking it into community control. See, . Meanwhile, over in Stirlingshire, the Carbeth Hutters – who first set up their camp over 80 years ago – have raised £1.75m to purchase their 90 acre site from its owners.  This self-sufficient cooperative of over 140 dwellings – near the Campsie Fells – is seen as a pioneer of the hutting movement.  See,

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  This week:
JOBS: Edinburgh University Students Association, Stramash, Community Enterprise, Partners in Advocacy, LEAP, Foundation Scotland, UK Green Investment Bank, Bridges Programmes
EVENTS: Portobello Market, 6 Apr; Social entrepreneurship and public services, 10 Apr; Intro – What is social enterprise, 10 Apr; Making Your Asset More Sustainable, 11 Apr; Youth Enterprise Nation, 16 Apr;
TENDERS: Community hub renovation – Sandy Development Trust, Cycle to Work Scheme – Scottish Borders Council and New Brand Structure – Fife College. For more details, see

NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: The SEN Co-ordinators’ meeting this month is being opened up to Third Sector Interface (TSI) staff. We have been really encouraged by the response so far – with 20 TSIs now being represented. SEN Co-ordinators’ meetings provide an opportunity to share information, experiences and offer peer support in relation to social enterprise activity at a local level. We hope this meeting will extend this support and help to forge links closer ties between SENs and colleagues working in Interfaces across the country. If you’d like to attend, contact The event is being held on 17th April at The Grassmarket Community Project, 86 Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh (10.30am – 1pm). See agenda,  For more Networks News, see

DTA Scotland is participating in some UK-wide research in partnership with Locality, on behalf of the BIG Lottery. The research is particularly keen to capture the experiences of small community organisations (turnover £50k-£200k). DTAS believes that this is a great opportunity to demonstrate the value of Peer Learning and Support and get it properly resourced, and would urge community organisations to complete the survey. See,

The Melting Pot’s Social Innovation Incubator Programme for 2013 is now open for applications. The programme will be offering up to 10 social innovators the opportunity to take their organisation forward through a facilitated programme and support services – over a 12 month period. To apply, see  As with last year, The Melting Pot is also inviting sponsors to contribute either financial or in-kind support.

Last month, we voiced concern at the lack of news on investments from the Jessica Fund – being administered by Resilient Scotland. It’s good to hear that the first two investments have now been announced – to Stepwell (Greenock) and the Himalayan Centre (Edinburgh) – both of whom will be receiving around £60k each. For more, see

News this week that the Calman Trust is taking over the running of Ness Soap. The Calman Trust, set up in 1998 to combat homelessness in the Inverness area, also operates the social enterprise, Café Artysan, on a neighbouring site in Inverness. Over the last year, they have worked with over 400 young people. They plan to rebuild the enterprise and, in time, hope to re-employ those who lost their jobs when Ness Soap went into liquidation. See,

Sad to hear this week of the closure of The Pool – DTA Scotland’s consultancy service. Whilst it, ultimately, may not have been a sustainable business model, The Pool, during its 4 years of business, provided a valued service for many community organisations. See,

This week’s bulletin profiles a new social enterprise based in Callander. Skidaddle, set up in 2011, looks to provide and promote sport and adventure opportunities in rural central Scotland which also bring social and economic benefits to local communities. Skidaddle organises a series of local events throughout the year that include running and cycling as well as other activities and is currently seeking volunteers for 2013 to help out at events with marshalling, event registration, event timing etc. For more, see

This is the final paragraph of James Lee Burke’s Novel – Swan Peaks.

"When I place my hand in a cold pool and fingerling salmon nibble the ends of my fingers, I know the pool will freeze over and the fingerlings will live under the ice until May, when the ice will thaw and the adult salmon will swim into the river’s main channel and eventually work their way out to sea. All of these things will happen of their own accord, without my doing anything about them, and for some strange reason, I take great comfort in that fact."

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