Senscot Bulletin: 05.04.19

Next month begins my 80th year of life – wow! – been wondering if my enjoyment of gardening will stay a bit longer; I love it when the clocks go forward – daylight stretches, and I’m happy to report that, while cutting the grass on Sunday, I ‘transitioned’ into spring-mode. Taking a rest on my seat under the willow tree, I sit still, becoming slowly aware that everything in the natural world is on the move, vividly alive. It’s not only a ‘sensory’ experience (sight, sound, scent, sun etc) – it’s as if part of my brain ‘attunes’ to the ‘life force’; momentarily my body feels/understands how this willow has tiny iridescent leaves. I’m not suggesting anything mystical – only a brief heightened awareness. But my appetite to ‘join in’ has returned; making all kinds of plans and lists.

Not long before his death, Ernest Hemingway wrote a sad and lovely memoir called ‘ A Moveable Feast’; with late-life warmth, he looks back 35 years to his happiest period – as an aspiring young writer, in Paris in the early 1920s. I mention this because these reflections include the most joyous evocation of spring that I know: “When spring came, there were no problems except where to be happiest…”. Hemingway is young, strong and in love, captivated by the city where he lives with his wife, Hadley and their wee boy; all this fuses into sheer happiness – memorably symbolised in the joy of spring’s re-awakening. As of this week, I’m in spring-mode again.



Paul Mason is an ‘activist’ – part of ‘the struggle’ – so his journalism is predictably left wing – nothing wrong with that. His Brexit piece, in Wednesday’s Irish Times, tries to look at some positives: how our political class being in shock has empowered parliament and our democracy: how May’s approach to Corbyn and Labour heralds the end of the Little English revolution. Particularly if we can get a confirmatory referendum over the line, Mason thinks the small minority of right-wing Tory nationalists will throw in the towel. Whilst I’m not quite as optimistic, let us now determine what there’s a majority for – test it at the ballot box against the most obvious solution – remaining in the EU.



Fourteen years ago, John Carnochan was a co-founder of Scotland’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU); he says that the current knife crime crisis in England has resulted in media outlets contacting him again for comment – so he’s written a blog – capturing the essential elements of VRU’s success. Unsurprisingly, it’s about establishing relationships with those involved – inspiring hope – making their lives less bleak. His blog appears on the ‘Postcards from Scotland’ website, which in itself, is worthy of our attention; they produce a successful, ongoing series of short books: ’to inspire social, cultural and environmental change’.



“From the moment I booked my first ever first-class rail ticket – the morning after the Orwell ceremony – I was different. The rules of the game changed the second I had something to lose”. These are the words of Darren McGarvey, author of ‘Poverty Safari’; with characteristic candour, he reflects on what it’s like to suddenly have a ‘seat at the table’ – perhaps a different interpretation and relationship with poverty?



Good article in ‘Social Europe’ about how the ethos of private gain has corroded public service. The neoliberal dogma – that all human activities are driven by the desire for material success – is now firmly embedded in the political space; no longer odd or unusual when politicians prioritise their own financial benefit. Plato’s ‘Republic’ has proven to be one of the world’s most influential works of philosophy and political theory. In his imagined ‘ideal’ city state, the Guardians (charged with governance) agree to forego any property or wealth. The ancient Greeks valued public service – understood human nature better than us.



From a mixture of alcoholism and mental illness, Hemingway lost hope at the end of his life; ‘ a Moveable Feast’ powerfully equates his early spring times in Paris, with lost innocence and lifetime regrets.


“With so many trees in the city, you could see the spring coming each day until a night of warm wind would bring it suddenly in one morning… Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintry light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen…When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest.”


2019/20, from a SE perspective, sees the final year of the current SE Action Plan – and will see the start of discussions on the shape and content of the next Action Plan. This will include reflections on what has been achieved; what gaps continue to exist; what has worked – or not; how the landscape has changed; and if, and where, new focus is required. Shortly, the new Business Support contract will be announced; and the SE Census 2019 is already underway (see below). Other initiatives will see funding continue through until March 2020.  Senscot – with Social Firms Scotland and Scottish Community Alliance – will again host a series of SE Action Plan Reference Sub-Groups. In 2018/19 – Sub-Group attendees (representing interests of over 2,000 SEs) provided a series of recommendations and Feedback that, in part, mirrored the approach of the Govt’s de facto ‘community strategy’ – where initiatives such as Strengthening Communities, Community Learning Exchanges and Pockets and Prospects show the benefits of directly investing at a local level.

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


The SE Strategy identified the SE Code as the benchmark for social enterprise in Scotland. It also went on to say that SE was part of a broader movement that includes, amongst others, socially responsible businesses. This welcome – but distinct – activity has received a boost lately with the news that Firstport is setting up a trading arm to work exclusively with these ‘socially responsible businesses’. FirstImpact will be a fee-based service, providing support to organisations that wish to embed ‘impact and mission’ into their business – but are not able to or do not wish to adopt our accepted social enterprise model.



Scottish Govt has announced the latest round of its Climate Challenge Fund (CCF) – with 22 organisations receiving over £3m between them. The criteria for successful applicants are projects that are community-led; help reduce carbon emissions; improve community understanding of climate change; and have a sustainable legacy. Since 2008, CCF has provided over £100m of funding to 1,100 projects across Scotland.



The SE Census 2019 is now underway and Social Value Lab has put together this survey. It’ll take about 15 mins to fill in – but we would ask that you try and spare a bit of time in which to do so. Your participation helps build a consistent picture over time as well as observe the various trends across our sector. All info is treated in strictest confidence – and they even have a prize draw!! Your co-operation is appreciated.



If you’ve got some time today in Glasgow – why not pop along to the Women’s Centre to see ‘In Her Shoes’ – a production written and produced by Theatre Nemo and the Women’s Centre to celebrate 25 years of the Glasgow Women’s Centre. The idea emerged as both worked together during last year’s Pockets and Prospects programme in Glasgow. This year’s programme is on the lookout for additional SE suppliers offering activities in the city. For more info, contact or



This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise in Glasgow that looks to support people by creating an environment for creative and recreational events. The Space, located in the East End, is operated by the charity, People Without Labels, and provides a range of activities that include music, art, comedy, film, performance, education and discussions. The Space also offers private and co-working studios for creative people to come and work in a friendly and safe environment. It is also wholly self-reliant and is Scotland’s first Pay What You Decide (PWYD) venue for events, workshops as well as a range of food and non-alcoholic drink.