Senscot Bulletin: 05.08.16

Dear members and friends,

            Much enjoyed BBC coverage of the Ladies Open Golf; the relaxed, friendly banter of Peter Allis and gang – summer sounds. The winner was a 20 year old Thai lass called Ariya Jutanugarn who showed amazing composure for her age – including a deliberate wee smile before each shot. 90% of Thais are Buddhist – my favourite Buddhist writer, Thich Nhat Hanh, teaches: “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile – but sometimes your smile is the source of your joy”. Zen understands that golf is about ‘tempo’.
             I live in a remote cottage which I love – but if I lose my car (progressive eye condition) I`ll need to move; exploring options is a theme just now. The loss of independence and solitude is the scary bit; if we were struck down by a medical event – an overstretched ‘system’ will do its best – but I expect personal choices are lost. I have a well-developed denial system – find future planning a struggle.
            If you want to give God a laugh – speak of your careful plans for the future; because, in truth, everything can be taken from us – except perhaps the last human freedom – to choose one’s attitude to any given set of circumstances; if I had only one wish for my remaining life, it would be for the grace of equanimity. In November 2014, the monk Thich Nhat Hanh had a devastating stroke – and although he is now 90 years old – without the power of speech – I like to think of him still making his wee smiles – serene.


Mentally I seem to have ‘parked’ the independence issue; when 60% of Scots want it, we’ll have indyref 2 – and I’ll again vote yes; for reasons more important than the oil price. Some will join a new ‘yes’ campaign – but, for me a higher priority remains Scotland’s missing tier of local democracy – doggedly ‘ignored’ by successive administrations. SNP indifference to this issue particularly disappoints; one assumed that the philosophy of independence embraced the principle of subsidiarity: that decisions be made at the lowest competent level in society. This extract from Nicola Sturgeons manifesto speech would have us believe that hers is a decentralising party – but that is untrue. The gap between spin and reality widens.


It puzzles and disappoints that the left wing journalist and writer, Owen Jones, simply joined the Guardian’s venemous slagging of Jeremy Corbyn; in response to what I assume were protests from his peers – he has written an over-long (25 mins) justification of his position – which, in my opinion, fails to ring true; no attempt to credit Corbyn with a participative style of leadership suited to the complexities of modern societies; (over-long article by Roy Madron). Jones asked Corbyn for a statement of what Labour’s vision is under his leadership – received a summary paragraph which I like; posted as today’s end piece.


Even leaving out the cost of benefits – a new report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) estimates that the effects of poverty cost the UK taxpayer around £78bn annually. Health conditions associated with poverty – including mental illness – are the highest cost; then special poverty measures in schools; then the higher incidence of crime in deprived areas – etc. When legislators look in future at the high cost of a universal basic income (UBI) – they should think in the context of what it would do for the nation’s health and well-being.


There is something appropriate about a system of national honours – it is fitting to celebrate exceptional effort and achievement on behalf of the community. But the UK system, abused and corrupted by politicians, is no longer honourable– frankly an embarrassment. Scotland should create our own awards – less pretentious; referencing not a ‘glorious’ British Empire but the sentiments of Robert Burns – who ‘looked and laughed at a’ that’. Not in the gift of politicians or civil servants (for sale) but for ordinary citizens who do extraordinary things.

In the 1980’s I benefitted from the “right to buy” legislation – bought my housing association flat at discount – then got a grant to modernise it. If you multiply my story by 500,000 across Scotland, you get an idea why we now have a chronic shortage of affordable accommodation to rent; a most unfortunate policy. From August 1st, “right to buy” has been abolished (not in England). Building a stable stock of good social housing would be a major contribution to the alleviation of poverty; people like me ‘owe’ the system.


NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:
JOBS: RAMH, The Church of Scotland, Inverness Women’s Aid, The Church of Scotland, Inverkip Community Initiative, The Larder West Lothian, CHAP, Glengarry Community Woodlands
EVENTS: Necropolis Women’s Heritage Walk, 14 Aug; Stories of Origin: Annemarie Murland: Exhibition, 20 Aug; Meet the Artist: Penny Anderson, 27 Aug Scottish Rural Parliament 2016, 8 Oct;
TENDERS: Building Cleaning Machine Repair and Annual PAT Testing Service; Experiences of people with a learning disability in the Scottish criminal justice system; Challenge Fund Grant Opportunity – Childcare and more. Join the Ready for Business Linked-In group and follow on Twitter.

The SENs Weekly Update
: Kim writes: One of the big social/community enterprise events in the calendar takes place on 7th Sept in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow. CEiS’ annual SE Policy and Practice event is now in its 10th year and regularly attracts around 200 delegates each year. This year’s Programme includes a keynote speech fromAngela Constance (our new Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities) plus a summary of the key issues emerging from the new SE Strategy for Scotland – due to be published in the autumn. Regular features include Rising Stars and ‘themed’ Breakout Sessions – as well as news of an innovative Scottish/Canadian SE Alliance. CEIS is kindly offering 15 Bursary places (£50+vat) to SEN members. For details, contact


Senscot Legal is now offering a package of ‘core services’ to social enterprises and third sector organisations. Having provided services to over 750 organisations since it began trading in 2011, there has been an ongoing demand from organisations for some internal services that include Governance Reviews; Reviews of Policies and Procedures; and the Company Secretary function. These are available as individual services or can be ‘wrapped up’ as a ‘core services package’. See further details. Senscot Legal has also, this year, taken over the administration and maintenance of the Voluntary SE Code of Practice and its website. To date, over 800 social enterprises have subscribed to the Code. For info, contact


Social Audit Network’s (SAN) Alan Kay provides with his regular monthly blog – looking at the ‘hazy divide’ between marketing and social impact reporting. An additional blog is also included from Alan’s SAN colleague, Anne Lythgoe. With discussions ongoing within the sector and with Govt about how best to capture the impact third sector organisations are having on their respective communities, these blogs are helpful in understanding the issues involved. Scroll down from here to see earlier blogs.


The BroomPower Community Shares offer runs till 31st August 2016 – just over 4 weeks to go. To date, they have raised over £260k – but have a target of £900k. Their objective is to establish a small scale hydro-electric scheme on the Allt a’ Mhuilinn – just south of Ullapool. With changes to UK Govt legislation, this may also be one of the last opportunities to invest in a wholly community-owned renewable scheme. Minimum investment is set at £300. See investment info here.

This week’s bulletin profiles Glasgow SEN member, Limelight Music. Based in the Briggait, Limelight Music is a Scottish Equalities professional music training and production company. Since it was established, 24 years ago, it has been delivering high quality inclusive music projects across Scotland and in Europe. Limelight is the largest employer of disabled musicians in Scotland. From its base in Glasgow, they collaborate with local authorities, schools, musicians, music producers and mainstream theatre companies to create new projects in education and in the entertainment industries – providing music training sessions for over 1200 school pupils and 30 disabled adults every year.


Jeremy Corbyn wrote this paragraph summarising the vision of the Labour party under his leadership. In a speech in London yesterday he expanded this into a ten pledges.


“An economy that doesn’t cut public expenditure as a principle, that instead is prepared to invest and participate in the widest economy in order to give opportunities and decency for everyone. A welfare system that doesn’t punish those with disabilities but instead supports people with disabilities. A health service that is there for all, for all time, without any charges and without any privatisation within that NHS. And a foreign policy that’s based on human rights, the promotion of democracy around the world.”


That’s all for this week.
Best wishes,




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