Dear members and friends,
Laurens van der Post said of the Kalahari bushmen, that they were wonderful storytellers – “These people know what we do not – that without a story you haven’t got a culture or a civilization. Without a story of your own to live, you haven’t got a life of your own.” My tribe taught me the story of Jesus which I tried to live for many years – but gradually it lost its power for. Now I look for spiritual fulfilment from my own experiences – those which bring understanding, healing, dignity, meaning, inspiration etc. With the passing years, I feel a need to make sense of my biography, but without the context of a religion it’s difficult to weave past, present and future into a coherent story. Maybe things just happen.
Lunch this week with an old friend, ages with me – close colleagues for many years. Sandy is unusually quiet – seems discouraged – says he’s been wondering what his life has meant. This must be an age thing! “This is an easy one Sandy – I think of you as someone who for 20 years was a model for hundreds of youngsters in that housing estate – for some a substitute father – who kept faith with them through drink, drugs, fights, court, jail, debts, marriage – and then it started over again with their children. For two generations – constant – carrying the light – teaching by example what community is. You’re one of my heroes Sandy.” My speech draws a bashful smile – it occurs to me that maybe our own story is the one we see least clearly.
The inaugural Social Enterprise World Forum held in Scotland this week was a great success. Meeting social entrepreneurs from so many countries was for me the most valuable aspect of the gathering – people’s individual stories – told in person – very powerful. Gerry Higgins, who took over at CEIS a couple of years back, has introduced an outward looking international aspect to Scotland’s social enterprise sector which deepens and reinforces our work. Now the baton has been passed to the Australians who will host the event next year. My choice of the speakers was Charlie Leadbetter who spoke about doing things `with` rather than to or for people. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7496
The SNP Administration’s abolition of parking changes at our hospitals is another very clever move. Seen as a tax on illness, these charges cause real citizen anger. It also gave Nicola Sturgeon an opportunity to attack the swindle of Scotland’s 3 PFI hospitals where she can’t abolish (the most exorbitant) charges. On the general issue of PFI, here’s Thomas Jefferson – US President 1801-1809. ‘‘I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale’’. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7484
On the issue of oldies now outnumbering youngsters in the UK, Neil Lovelock of CRNS writes to point out an imbalance in the Single Outcome Agreements (SOAs). The current 15 national outcomes include 3 which are specific to children but none specific to older folk. He rightly says that there needs to be a way in which the SOAs can be revised and improved. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7485 My mention last week of an Oldie Cooperative got an unusually enthusiastic response. If you’d like to keep in touch with how this idea develops – drop us an email.
My attitude to the international circuit of conferences in our sector in very much ‘bah humbug’ – but an event called ‘social capital markets’ in California in October has caught my eye. This piece on the site ‘beyond the beyond’ is unusually sensible – usually I find American social enterprise talk too right wing for my comfort – like the whole Skoll thing at Oxford – an alien colonising culture. This California event seems more counter culture – if it didn’t involve moving this old carcass thousands of miles over time zones, I’d go and check it out. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7488
When the Development Trust Association Scotland was established 5 years ago – Angus Hardie was appointed as its first Director. DTAS is now established as one of Scotland’s most successful community sector intermediaries and Angus has decided to move on – to the newly established Local People Leading campaign (LPL). Senscot wishes Angus and LPL good fortune. The DTAS Director’s post will soon be advertised.
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but submit jobs and events and we’ll post them on our site. See http://www.senscot.net/index.php?W21ID=86&W21SUBID=0. This week:
JOBS: incl. posts with: Edinburgh Cyrenians, Edinburgh Community Backgreens Association, Fife Society for the Blind, SCVO – Supporting Voluntary Action, Scottish Government, Homeless World Cup, C-MEE
EVENTS: Attitudes to Learning Within The BME Communities Conference, 9 Sep, Glasgow; Learning Without Limits, 12 Sep, Angus; Study tour (Community Food and Health (Scotland)), 17Sep, Aberdeen;
NETWORKS 1st News: The Social Enterprise Fringe Forum got off to a great start with a healthy turnout for the debate on the Social Enterprise Mark(SEM), being developed by RISE in South West England. A controversial topic, `The Mark`, through agreed criteria, provides a bespoke identity for social enterprises and there are plans to role this out across the UK. We’ll keep you informed of developments. For more NETWORKS News, see http://www.senscot.net/networks1st/showart.php?articleid=47
The Scottish Policy Innovation Forum, chaired by Prof. Jim Gallagher of Glasgow University hosts regular meetings at which papers are presented by innovative academics. The Forum meeting in Edinburgh on October 15th will consider fiscal federalism as a potential alternative to the Barnett formula. http://www.senscot.net/view_event.php?viewid=7486
The Scottish Investment Fund (SIF) launched this week without any fanfare but if you visit their site you’ll see that the shop is open for business. A number of readers have already made contact and have received initial replies. Here’s a sample, http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7487 Gossip in the corridors of the World Forum this week was that the Scottish Government intends to insert another layer of assessment criteria involving 3 themes – employability – heath equality and environmental impact. If this is the case it must be made absolutely clear from the outset what weighting these will carry. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7477
I find myself increasingly enraged by the ‘rip off’ legal bills which emerging social enterprises can incur for what are mostly ‘off the shelf’ services. I understand that it is no longer necessary to be a qualified solicitor to be a partner in a legal practice and I see no reason why we shouldn’t create a not for profit social enterprise providing bespoke legal services to our community. Are there any young idealistic solicitors out there who would like to lead the development of Third Sector Legal Services Ltd – with chartable status? This is a serious intention. Senscot would incubate such a venture till it got on its feet.
This week’s bulletin profiles another community facility in Glasgow run as a social enterprise by the local community. The Whiteinch Centre generates around 50% of core costs through revenue income for its facilities and services and is actively looking to increase this percentage. The Centre provides services to over 40 local groups that include learning, addictions support, early years health, mental health, sports, and the arts. For more info, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=7489
Reading an interesting book by David Marquand called `Decline of the Public` – in which he argues that the public domain of citizenship, equity and service – so crucial for individual fulfilment and social well being – has been under attack for 30 years from market fundamentalists and their New Labour imitators.
‘‘The private world of love and friendship, and the market world of interest and incentive, are not only dimensions of human life in society. There is a public domain with its own values… In the public domain people act neither out of the kindness of their hearts, nor in response to incentives, monetary or otherwise, but because they have a sense of serving the community.”
If this concept interests you – read more. https://senscot.net/?viewid=7483
That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures
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