Dear members and friends,
All the caring professions have been impacted in recent years, by neuroscientific proof that the quality of early care determines human brain development; equally, by research on how distress from adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) links directly to society’s most endemic problems: mental and physical illness, educational failure, imprisonment etc. It’s not often, that a theme from our sector, crosses into general consciousness – but the ACEs debate shows every sign of doing so: on social media and ‘normal’ discussions, it is capturing public attention.
Reading detective novels remains an integral part of my relaxation – usually in addictive bursts: I’m on my seventh of the ten novels by Hakan Nesser about chief inspector Van Veeteren; the chief inspector (my current hero) says: “In every investigation, there comes a point beyond which we don’t really need any more information. When we reach that point, we already know enough to solve the problem by means of nothing more than clear thinking.” My brain connected this comment to the present excitation around ACEs. My point is that there’s nothing new here – ‘experts’ like Harry Burns, John Carnochan and many others, have been telling this stuff to the politicians for a decade – with no visible improvement in support for struggling children, or the disgraceful waiting times, to even get assessed.
‘Clear thinking’ would mean shifting substantial resources ‘upstream’ – for preventative work with toddlers and families. I suspect our politicians already know this – but fear the potential disruption. If ‘ACEs Awareness’ continues to grow, the public may demand change.
This week, until Sunday 7th, is ’Challenge Poverty Week’; Peter Kelly of the Poverty Alliance says that – across Scotland, people from all walks of life, are coming together to highlight the problem and show what can be done… Writing on the Rethinking Poverty website, Barry Knight says that every month there is at least one serious study telling us how bad poverty is – “If knowing the facts reduced poverty, it would be all over by now”… On Tuesday evening, BBC 2, I watched a rerun the 2008 banking crisis – and yes there was a short period, when the ‘powers that be’ were on the back foot. But as Larry Elliott’s piece recounts – progressive forces were unable to take advantage – nothing substantial has changed.
Ongoing at this time is a Local Governance Review – coordinated by Scottish Govt. through a specialist enabling group; the consultation will probably run into next year, with the purpose of informing Scotland’s Local Democracy Bill. The ‘crunch’ issue, on how to structure a local tier of decision making, is not an easy one to ‘call’. Do we go for a standardised statutory model (e.g. properly resourced community councils) – or do we allow each community to shape its own vehicle – in accordance with its history and existing organisations. An ‘accredited’ status to be worked towards at your own pace; or a ‘big-bang event’ of statutory elections. See consultation website.
The determined vilification of Jeremy Corbyn in the UK media, eventually got some traction with hysterical accusations of anti-Semitism. Good to see a letter in the Guardian, from 27 named academics, critical of the flawed reporting. Their letter particularly accuses the Guardian itself of ‘overwhelming source imbalance’ again Corbyn and Labour.
Further distressing evidence (via the Ferret) of the disgraceful state of West Coast salmon farms from lice infestation (82 farms exceeded lice limits in 2017). These businesses bring much needed jobs to remote areas and this must be recognised. But alongside reputational damage to Scotland’s food industry – there’s an animal welfare issue here.
Alice Miller (1923-2010) was a Swiss psychologist, noted for her books on parental child abuse. Long before ‘ACEs Awareness’ she understood the long-term consequences of childhood trauma on adult physical and mental health.
“The truth about childhood is stored-up in our bodies, and lives in the depths of our souls. Our intellect can be deceived; our feelings can be numbed and manipulated; our perceptions shamed and confused; our bodies tricked with medication; but our soul never forgets. And because we are one – one soul in one body – someday our body will present a bill.”
Health SEN member, Healthy Options last month launched Oban as Scotland’s first ‘Healthy Living Town’. In recent years, Oban has built a reputation for being a pioneer in the field of ‘creating health in the community’. The town has around 150 different organisations that either directly or indirectly are promoting better physical and mental health within the local community. These organisations range from sports clubs and gyms to walking and social groups – which all have a focus on improving health as well as addressing particular issues such as isolation and loneliness. A further example of the commitment and support of the local community has been the £200k raised as part of a community share offer towards the Rockfield Centre – a cultural hub in the town that embraces both community enterprise and community wellbeing.
Keep up to date with the latest jobs, events and funding opportunities in the social enterprise sector.
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The third SE Ref Sub-Group takes place in Inverness on Thursday 25th October in the MacLean Room at the Eden Court Theatre – following earlier meetings in Glasgow (March) and Edinburgh (June). This meeting will report on progress with regard to the specific recommendations – identified in earlier Ref Group meetings. The Agenda also includes a ’half-time report’ on the Action Plan to date. What has been delivered and what outstanding ‘actions’ have yet to be addressed. We will also be looking at the ongoing challenges in ensuring full and fair access to in-depth support for those outwith the central belt.
Community Learning Exchanges are a great examples of simple, straightforward ideas often being the most effective and informative. Facilitating visits to other social/community enterprises are proving of great value in meeting new people with similar interests; gaining new insights and perspectives on shared challenges. Supported through a fund administered by SCA, Senscot has already co-ordinated three Exchanges this year – to Cothrom (Uist); The Ecology Centre (Fife); and Aberdeen Community Football Trust. The next Exchange will be hosted by Greenock Morton Community Trust and CVS Inverclyde on Monday, 29th October. If you’d like to attend, see further details – or email email@example.com
Reminder: Scottish Community Finance Ltd’s new SEN Bridging Loan Fund is now open for applications. The Fund is open to any SEN members looking for short-term bridging finance. See application form.
Dates for your Diary: The first joint Tayside and Fife Social Enterprise Conference is being held at the Apex Hotel in Dundee on 24th October 2018 – with the focus being on Inclusive Growth. Tickets for SEs are £30:
This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise – based in Edinburgh – that specialises in delivering music projects for young people who are at-risk, in areas of multiple deprivation, are disengaged and who have experienced trauma. Heavy Sound CIC offers young people, aged 13-25 years, the opportunity to engage in their unique approaches to development and learning – blending experience with innovative technology and electronic instruments found in mainstream studios with a focus on improving confidence and self-worth. Heavy Sound’s course typically run over 8-12 weeks. Current projects include collaborations with East Lothian Council and Glasgow Caledonian University.