Dear members and friends,
My dad lasted to his 80th year – at 74 my energy decreases – medication increases; there is a creeping awareness of being in the departure lounge – waiting for my flight to be called. At one level – the human brain pretends that it will never die – our culture supports this denial – talk of death is taboo. But at an unconscious level my psyche knows fine, that time is running out and makes appropriate adjustments. The trend is a declining interest in ‘the affairs of the world’ – an increasing attunement with natural world around my cottage.
10 years ago – when I started feeding garden birds – a pair of Jays were shy, occasional visitors; now there are four families of Jays – I watch then return to their nesting trees. The Japanese acer has died – important for me to work out why. Molehills have appeared on the lawn – the varmints are back… As I increasingly become aware of the minutiae of creatures and plants – I catch glimpses of a deeper wisdom – of a harmony with ‘just the way it is’ – the Tao.
In his poem ‘On a raised beach’ – Hugh McDiarmid says: “The inward gates of a bird are always open; it does not know how to shut them; that is the secret of its song; but whether any man’s are ajar is doubtful.” I believe that small children live with their gates open – a fleeting condition of innocence – until they ‘learn how to behave’. I also believe it’s possible for old people to regain innocence – and I’ve encountered this a few times – but it’s rare.
Driving away from the Development Trust’s (DTAS) Conference this week – I felt inspired again – that, here in Scotland, we are laying down a regeneration infrastructure that really works. After decades of imposed, top-down ‘partnerships’ – which wasted countless millions – there is recognition of the essential role of locally-owned ‘anchor’ organisations – to take the lead. The thinking which informs Scottish Govt’s ‘ Strengthening Communities’ programme is nearly right – but still too much “we know what you need”; some refinements – and then, next year, let’s see a serious allocation of funding – so that any community that wishes, can create its own development vehicle; thousands of active citizens across the land – participative democracy. This is a map of Scotland’s 208 DTs – annual increase of about 20, see, https://senscot.net/?viewid=17982
Another way to embed local democracy is by creating a new tier of municipalities which elect Councils. Malaga province in Spain has a population of 1.64 million and 101 municipalities; this link lists them with populations – from Marbella with over 100k to Alpandeire, which I visit, with an electoral roll of 311. Scotland, pro rata, would have around 300 municipalities – with constitutional rights and responsibilities and a budget. Representative democracy brought to life. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=17975
Some of George Monbiot’s eco stuff loses me – but I share his loathing for the advance of unchecked corporate power. In this Guardian piece, he uses the occasion of the Indy vote for a splendid left wing rant against all that is wrong with the UK state: ‘Broken, corrupt, retentive, dysfunctional: you want to be part of this?’. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=17978
Last week, we heard about police failure to respond to shocking child abuse in Rotherham; this week, they lock up a couple trying to get the best health care for their 5 year old son. Thomas Jefferson famously said that there is no safe repository for the ultimate power of society but the people. I am no champion of social media – don’t use it – but I’m increasingly aware of its value in holding power elites accountable to public common sense. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=17977
Stephen Lloyd – one of the most influential lawyers serving the English third sector – has tragically died in a boating accident. The Guardian obituary summarises his achievements – with tributes from friends.
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See http://www.senscot.net/jobsevents.php this week:
JOBS: Aberdeenshire Voluntary Action, Ochil Leisure Enterprises, McSence Group, Out of the Blue Arts and Education Trust, Trellis, Leonard Cheshire Disability Scotland, The Salvation Army, Greener Leith
EVENTS: Portobello Market, 6 Sep; Leading Edge, 9 Sep; Pre-Start Leadership, 9 Sep; Social in the Square, 13 Sep; FREE: Finance for Practitioners – AYR, 17 Sep;
TENDERS: Employee Occupational Health and Wellbeing – Renfrewshire Council, Construction of Woodland Cycle Trail & Skills Area – Midlothian Council, Sector Skills Academy Programme – Perth & Kinross Council and more. http://readyforbusiness.org/?p=1473
The SENs Weekly Update; Kim writes: Over the last couple of years, there has been an increase in activity within the Thematic SENs – Health, Sport, Culture and Creative and Community Food – both in joint working as well as exploring new opportunities. One of these new opportunities has been within Scotland’s tourism industry. Almost 70 SEN members responded to a Senscot survey – identifying SEs existing contribution within the tourism landscape. The survey also highlights the significant potential for SE to play a bigger role – with appropriate support and resource being made available to social entreprises. See, http://www.senscot.net/docs/cssen-Tourism_Survey_Report_2014.pdf . For more, contact email@example.com.
For more SENs News, see http://www.se-networks.net/showbull1.php?articleid=363
Supporting young people with learning disabilities to create a quality restaurant and conference venue – for over 20 years the Engine Shed has been one of Edinburgh’s exemplar social enterprises. The stark news this week that it is to close – sends shock waves around a whole range of specialist SEs which need Council support to balance the books each year. With deeper cuts to come – what is our strategy to support third sector outreach to our most vulnerable citizens? See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=17974
Wednesday saw CEiS host its 8th SE: Policy and Practice Conference in Glasgow. Over 200 folk turned up to hear a wide range of presentations/workshops etc. From Senscot point of view, it was good to get the chance to discuss the notion of SE failure openly – with Just Enterprise now providing a Business Recovery service, see, https://senscot.net/?viewid=17979 As one the key SE events in our calendar, it also gave us an opportunity to kick start the discussion about how SE in Scotland can progress over the years ahead. Here’s the list of attendees, www.senscot.net/docs/SEPolicyandPractice-CEiS0001.pdf
Over the past year – Senscot has hosted different SE study visits from Europe; the two themes most remarked on are our direct access to and support from Govt – and the frontline SENs which have sprung up. A new book this week from the Netherlands – which says that they are just getting started with SE – still defining what it is and what it is not. If they’re beginners – the case studies they post are mighty impressive. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=17981
With social investment increasingly in the news, there is a new ‘player’ on the scene in Scotland – Big Issue Invest Scotland (BIIS). This joint venture – between Big Issue Invest and DSL Business Finance – is now open for business and has been raising its profile this week with stalls at both the DTAS and CEiS Annual Conferences. See more, https://senscot.net/?viewid=17984
This week’s bulletin profiles one of the social enterprises that presented at this week’s CEiS SE policy and Practice Conference. Bodysurf Scotland, based in the Findhorn community in Moray, was launched in 2003. Over the years, Bodysurf Scotland has brought world-class dance artists and teachers to rural Moray, providing cultural opportunities to people locally and from across the globe. From live dance performances to professional training, cutting-edge dance film and workshops in a range of disciplines, their aim is to share their passion with people from all walks of life. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=17983
This is from the Scottish writer James Kelman.
“Ninety-nine per cent of traditional English literature concerns people who never have to worry about money at all. We always seem to be watching or reading about emotional crises among folk who live in a world of great fortune both in matters of luck and money…
As a writer you have to reflect on why your work is provoking such hostility, because all you want to do is write your stories as best you can. You’re forced to reflect on, why is my work so upsetting for people? The agenda behind it is clear. They don’t want to see these people in literature. These areas of human experience [I write about] should not appear in public; we don’t want to know. We know that people are in the street, that they have no money and are maybe begging, but we don’t want to see them in literature. They should be swept under the carpet.”
That’s all for this week.
Subscribe to this bulletin: http://www.senscot.net/bsubscribe.php
To unsubscribe or change subscription address/ e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org