Senscot Bulletin: 05.10.12

Dear members and friends,

 Although his connection with Iberia is a bit vague – St James the apostle (Sant Iago) is honoured as the patron saint of Spain.  When, during the middle ages, the Spanish were trying to reclaim their land from Moorish occupation – things were not going well.  To galvanise the troops – spin doctors of the time concocted sightings of St James – appearing in battle as a ferocious, sword wielding, warrior on horseback.  They dubbed him ‘Santiago Matamoros’ (the moor slayer).  Historians argue that this myth had a critical influence on the ‘Reconquista’.
 Something similar happened at Medinah this week.  Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal – were arguably the most successful – and inspirational – pairing Europe has ever fielded in the Ryder Cup.  It is hardly surprising that ‘captain Ollie’ decided to invoke Seve’s battling spirit – to rally his faltering troops on Sunday.  I was at St Andrews in 1984 when Seve swept past Tom Watson to win The Open – carried by the adulation he inspired in the Scottish crowd.  Awesome.  Several of the players – who won very tight matches on Sunday, wearing the Ballesteros ‘colours’ – have spoken of Seve ‘being there’.
 And what of the man himself – who was Seve’s personal inspiration?  Life teaches that heroes are just like us; that for all we know, he became attached as a child to a kindly uncle – who lived alone in the Cantabrian countryside – and whose sole claim to fame was that he grew beautiful tomatoes.

As indicated last week – the international academic debate about SE is lining up in two identifiable camps.  On the one hand the USA usage – where SE is little more than a ‘tendency’ – which embraces corporations like Coca-Cola etc.  On the other, the European understanding – which asserts its distinctiveness from private business – through democratic governance – locking in social purpose, revenue and assets.  Email from Michael Roy – a PhD candidate at Glasgow Caley Yooni – which seems to confirm the divide; it also suggests that the USA definition has trashed the SE brand in South America.  Roy references a ‘heavyweight’ academic paper on ‘the divide’. See,

Good blog from Felix Spittal (below) SCVO’s policy officer in the north.  He draws our attention to the list of awardees for Scottish Govt’s People and Communities Fund – which displays a poor understanding of what a ‘community led anchor organisation’ means  Glasgow Housing Association?!  The scope of this list does not bode well for the drafting of the Community Empowerment Bill – by the same people? See,

Land Action Scotland went public last week with their campaign to democratise the charitable trusts which own the Bute and Applecross estates; the support of cabinet secretary Mike Russell reflects well on Scottish Govt.  The official responses of both these estates is predictably boring (below) – but make no mistake – the landed class will deploy their big guns on this one.  What matters most is the response of the people who live there; in spite of an understandable fear of ‘the laird’ – are we about to see community empowerment in practice.  Where do our politicians really stand on land reform? See,

My recent trip to Barcelona was invigorating – the surprising exception was a visit to the Nou Camp which I found dispiriting.  The stadium was littered and unloved – everything cynically overpriced – I left dejected.  Why does this iconic institution – a cooperative – which stands for so much ‘more than a club’ – present itself as a tacky tourist trap. 
I recently read a potted history of the UK Cooperative Party – inspirational; the political wing of a movement for the principles of cooperation – mutuality – empowerment.  But I can’t help asking – where has it gone?  It’s an interesting question – how social movements continuously ‘renew’ themselves – or not.

Correction: Last week’s piece on loan finance in the £10-50k bracket stated that this was an area that Triodos and SIS did not engage with. This was inaccurate. Both are active in the sub-£50k loan market. SIS has also asked us to point out that it is a CDFI and will remain so.

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  This week:
JOBS: East Renfrewshire Women’s Aid, Children’s Hearings Scotland, South Kintyre Development Trust, Liber8 (Lanarkshire) Ltd, Workingrite, Timespan, Wasps Artists’ Studios
EVENTS: Advancing your Social Enterprise, 9 Oct; Developing Places and Spaces, 24 Oct; Visual Impairment Awareness Training, 8 Nov; AB4G Conference 2012, 9 Nov;
TENDERS: Specialist Advice Framework Agreement, Tender For Regeneration Consultants, Feasibility and Business Appraisal for Coalfields Regeneration Trust.  For more details, see 

NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: We’ve just about finalised the programme for this year’s Ceilidh at New Lanark. See,  Places are still available and we’d really like to see as many of the 23 SENs as possible represented at the event. We’re also being joined by a delegation from Northern Ireland who hope to host their own version of the Ceilidh sometime next year. You can book your place for this year’s event here, . Also to enter this year’s Dragons’s Den, see . Closing date is 26th Oct. For more Networks News, see 

Firstport, last week, launched their new-look website –  – that gives a real flavour of their work in supporting start-up social enterprises across Scotland. Since 2009, it has distributed over £2m in start up funding to over 400 awardees. The awards are made up of Level 1 (up to £5k) and Level 2 (£5-20k). Firstport fulfils a critical function in our SE support infrastructure – nurturing the next generation. See recent evaluation. See, www.senscot.net

Social Firms Scotland is hosting 2 events over the next 10 days (9th Oct in Glasgow and 16th Oct in Inverness) to consider and debate the current Procurement Reform Bill (PRB) objectives and to seek views from the SE community.  The PRB has the potential to open up considerable opportunities for social enterprises. These events are your opportunity to shape the Bill – the Govt has stressed that responses will play a key role in the Bill’s development. For more, see

Tomorrow (6th) sees the start of the 2012 Homeless World Cup. This year’s event is taking place in Mexico City with 62 countries competing – both in the men and women’s tournaments. As reigning champions, Scotland will be doing their very best to complete a hat-trick of victories in the tournament. Follow their progress here,

There’s growing interest in the Cultural Social Enterprise Conference at the Birnam Conference  Centre, by Dunkeld on 31st Oct. Speakers include Tony Butler (Museum of East Anglian Life) and Paul Zealey (Glasgow 2014). See Programme,  To book your place – sign up here,

Scotland is a pioneer of Co-operative innovation.  Co-operatives UK – the national membership body of the movement – is currently recruiting for a lead officer – to raise the voice of coops in Scotland.  Edinburgh based – good salary. See,

This week’s bulletin re-visits a social enterprise first profiled in 2008. At the time, Glasgow Wood Recycling (GWR) was a newly established social enterprise operating in Drumchapel that was modelled on the award winning Brighton and Hove Community Wood Recycling initiative. Five years later, GWR is still going strong. Now operating from new premises in South Street in the Whiteinch area of the city, GWR continues to provide a range of home & garden reclaimed wood products as well as providing volunteer and training opportunities to local people. See,

Ed Miliband’s conference speech this week – his ‘one nation’ theme is exactly where Labour should be defining its difference from the Tories; the gap between rich and poor which New Labour was relaxed about.  Andrew Marr penned the Spectator Diary from New York recently; this is what he wrote:
 "…One of the many shrewd people I interviewed pointed out that today Democrats and Republicans tend to live in completely different neighbourhoods, as well as watching different shows.  ‘We don’t talk to each other.  Ever,’ she said.  Without common conversation, can you have a successful democracy?"
That’s all for this week.

Good luck with your adventures

Best wishes,


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Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210