Senscot Bulletin: 05-08-2005


(Going out weekly to over 2700; searchable archive of bulletins at web-site,

Dear members and friends,

Wake through the night with terrible sore throat and fierce cough – very little sleep. At one stage I’m sneezing, coughing, gasping, sweating, shivering and whimpering all at once. Sitting on the side of the bed waiting for calm – realise I’m also crying – have a few sobs. My GP is a well run group practice – 10 of them – I just take who’s available. This time I get a new one – a small, thin young lassie aged about 15 – but I prefer the young ones. I think they’re better trained – up to date – attentive – not burnt out. Meticulous sensitive examination – penicillin and paracetomol.
 Back home the sky is low, gloomy, slate grey – blustery showers. Back to bed – read – doze between coughs. Get hungry around 6 – nothing to eat – walk to nearby farm cottage to buy eggs. Sheila feels sorry for me – gives me some soda bread she has baked and some blackcurrants from her garden. Dig up potatoes and make eggs and chips – bread and butter – blackcurrants and ice cream. Mighty Caesar in all his glory never ate better. Cheer up a bit.
 The end of the day turns warm – outside in sunlight after 8 with my camomile tea watching the swallows. A rabbit wanders over – starts munching the marigolds. I say ‘shoo’ but it just looks at me as if to say ‘shoo yourself’. I suppose rabbits have to eat too – wonder if marigolds are like ice cream to rabbits.It’s very peaceful. An empty sort of day – but I like empty days more and more.

We Scots have a deep instinct for community – a natural appetite for social enterprise.  The idea of communities running their own services – caring for themselves seems especially fitting for our wee country. PR in the 2007 Council elections will mean that, for the first time in 50 years great chunks of central Scotland will be freed from the stranglehold of the old Labour state.  The opportunity will exist to create an environment where the social economy will be the natural first choice provider for community services.  But for this to happen a more focussed vision and strategy for the sector is required – with clearer leadership from the Executive.  Futurebuilders Scotland was a makeshift substitute for a proper Social Economy Strategy.  Is social enterprise to remain appended to the wider voluntary sector or should we become more explicitly a business model supported by the Enterprise Dept?  For 5 years Senscot has argued that the social enterprise community would be better served organising separately. The Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition has been created to meet this need. Good background article by Emma Hutton from SSEC. New topic on our feedback page, “Should Social Enterprise be a separate sector?” What do you think? I’ve posted my personal view to get it going in the feedback page.

Last week the Herald rattled the Executive’s cage on the issue of Glasgow Housing Associations awaited transfer of its stock to scores of locally owned Associations – suggesting it might not happen. (Do they know something we don’t?)  The next day Malcolm Chisholm and Angeliona Foster replied with a soothing letter but another by Bill Ramsay from Glasgow pointed out that the Banks are really in control. It may come down to the will of the people against the will of the Banks.

Talking of inequality is not fashionable these days – it sounds like the old politics of envy.  Tony Blair said early on – he’s not bothered about wealth – only abolishing poverty.  But in a new book: “The impact of Inequality” Richard Wilkinson – views the world in terms of physical and psychological wellbeing – and concludes, from a mass of evidence, that extreme inequality is the real enemy.  I found Polly Toynbee’s crit of the book a convincing piece:

A new social enterprise network starts up next month. This is the second thematic network and is targetted at social enterprises in the field of sports, recreation and leisure. The first meeting is taking place on 21st September at 7pm in the Bells (Whisky) Sports Centre in Perth. For more info’, contact

YELLOW PAGES/EXCHANGE: Space constraints mean we can’t carry every notice sent but please any relevant items (before noon Thursday) to and we’ll post them on our site. This week:

JOBS: 51 vacancies, incl. posts with: Bridges Project, Glasgow City Council (Social Initiatives), Faith in Community Scotland, Art in Healthcare, Blake Stevenson Ltd, Friends of the Earth Scotland.

EVENTS: HICCaP and Social Enterprise Academy joint launch and information event, Inverness, 18 Aug; More Than Furniture Conference 2005, CRNS, Perth, 26 Aug; ‘New Directions in Social Enterprise’ seminar, Inverness, 29 Sept; ‘Making Knowledge Work’, Social Capital conference, Stirling, 25-28 Oct.

The two upper floors (8 rooms) became available at 54 Manor Place and Senscot leased them.  After all the coming and going two rooms remain available on the top floor – each around 200 sq.ft. – 2/3 desks.  Annual total cost is £3800 each (excluding phone and electricity) this includes broadband, furniture, use of kitchens and meeting rooms and a good laugh from time to time.  Contact

Zen saying:  “First you see a tree just as a tree; then you see it as more than a tree; finally it’s just a tree again – but this time it’s a real tree.”  Not sure what this means, but sense that it contains a truth.

New Sector Magazine has been around for as long as I remember – sometimes strapped for cash but always right on message: community enterprise, co-operatives, local democracy. Senscot has this week become a shareholder in the new industrial and provident society which they have formed to relaunch the magazine. We wish the new co-operative prosperity. More: share issue.pdf

Senscot is a member of the Scottish Civic Forum. For some time it’s been clear that it hasn’t really established its niche as the voice of civic Scotland – now the Executive is withdrawing funding. Feel that any erosion of democratic structures should be protested but also feel that this is a test. If it is really valued it will be picked up. This applies to all our work. Only government rumbles on regardless.

This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise, based in Fife, and unique in the UK. SpringBack is the latest venture from FEAT Enterprise and is currently the only bed recycling facility in the UK. ‘SpringBack’ deconstructs mattresses and other bed parts and sorts them into their component parts thereby preventing them from going to landfill.  ‘SpringBack’ currently has 4 full time employees and 1 p/t volunteer and is currently working with a number of local authorities clearing their civic amenity sites/recycling centres of mattresses. Pauline Hinchion (FEAT Enterprise) developed this business idea after linking up with Terry MacDonald who runs SVDP, a huge social enterprise situated in Oregan, USA. For more info’, see our  ‘Profiles’

Doris Lessing has cancelled her visit to the Book Festival this month due to ill health – lets hope she keeps better.  Recently in an interview she said this to Alistair McKay. “I find the female imagination spookily masochistic.  I’m quite terrified of what women get up to.  Their need to suffer is extremely strong. Look at our heroines.  Sylvia Plath who’s your archetypal sufferer. Judy Garland. Marilyn Monroe.  There’s a list of women saints which can go on for pages.  All of them are martyrs and victims.  Why do we admire them? We don’t admire perfectly healthy competent women – no, we have these saints. These sufferers. I find that really sinister.  I do think it’s time women faced up to this need to suffer. But I don’t think as a movement we’ve begun to do it.  They don’t even notice it.  The most dangerous thing about women is that they’re masochists.  It’s probably not surprising – it’s a long history of persecution.”

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

Best wishes,