Senscot Bulletin: 06.02.15

Dear members and friends,


The technology for distributing this bulletin was installed over 10 years ago, I enjoyed it’s eccentricity; but the modernisers in our team are convincing about the efficiencies of mailchimp etc. I think ‘efficiency’ drives a regrettable standardisation; what do you think?
           At the end of last year – I’m contacted by a historian from one of our yoonies; creating an archive of how social enterprise evolved in Scotland – recording the recollections of folk like myself- around from the beginnings. A charming young woman visits me at home – we chat for a couple of hours on tape. In January, I receive a typescript of our conversation – it’s embarrassingly bad – all over the place. I email that it’s difficult to understand – how anything is so rambling and subjective could be of value to their research. The historian responds “rambling and subjective is a good description of History”; so I’m in an archive.
            It was strange looking back 40 years – so many memories – perhaps imaginings – all jumbled up. I feel grateful again that I found such rewarding work; we had a cause – warriors of light; it felt like warfare – the impulse was to conquer. But my head is in a different place now; the impulse of my old age is withdrawal –and the stillness of solitude; but not quite yet. Doing this bulletin is a good balance between being in the game and out of it; keeps the engine ticking over.  The writer, Doris Lessing (whom I much admired), once said that with old age she had become increasingly un-noticed – invisible; and with it had found a wonderful freedom, to say and do as she pleased. But when she was 88, her luck ran out. She won the Nobel Prize for literature – was pitched back into the melee.
Each year, Senscot invites financial donations from readers who wish to contribute to the cost of producing this bulletin.  Traditionally, around 100 individuals give an average of £25 to become full company members. Senscot’s board is elected by and is accountable to these members. We also invite donations from individuals or organisations who simply want to support what we do (amounts between £5 and £500). To join or to donate, see here.
The politics of democratic societies seems to divide into two factions: one protecting a rich minority – the other with a vision for the rest of us: has it always been thus? During the first half of my life – by popular demand – the Labour Party championed the cause of the poor; a benign state was put in place, that was proud to take responsibility for all citizens. But Thatcher changed the game – New Labour went over to protecting Money – lost its alternative narrative of hope and equality. Will Hutton’s Observer piece this week is about the rise of the Green Party towards the General Election; he rightly points out that the Greens have still to come of age as a party exercising power – some policy work to be done. But they’re the only ones who dare to name a better world – and it’s a long time since people were offered a politics of hope. See more.
Following a consultation process – involving over 400 people from across our SE community – the steering group has produced a version for circulation of the ‘SE Vision 2025 – Building a New Economy’ – feedback invited. Attached is a 4 page Executive Summary – plus a link to full report. The document has taken on board a wide range of views from within our sector – and sets down markers; what needs to happen for social enterprise to increase its contribution to the social, economic and environmental landscape in Scotland. It is assumed that these ideas will continue to evolve. Some will see it as a bold document; for others – not bold enough – but, importantly, it is starting point, we hope, for a wide-ranging and inclusive national dialogue on the role of social enterprise in a changing Scotland. See more.
I help out at a charity concerned with young children in distressing domestic situations – have some awareness of our (overstretched) child protection procedures. It is with some alarm that I read this piece by Ray Jones claiming that child protection is at risk of privatisation in England. The question of markets is really a question of how we want to live together. Are there not certain moral and civic goods which markets don’t honour – or is everything for sale? See more.
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. This week:
JOBS: Bloombox Salads, Bruntsfield Community Greengrocers, Instant Neighbour, GMAC Film, Edinburgh Social Enterprise Network, Glasgow Bike Station, Royal Blind, DSL Business Finance
EVENTS: Social Enterprise Insights, 12 Feb; Social Impact Measurement, 19 Feb; Community Shares Scotland – Aberdeen Roadshow, 24 Feb; An Introduction to Tendering, 25 Feb;
TENDERS: Equality and Sport Research, sportscotland; Provision of an Integrated Advocacy Service, East Renfrewshire Council; Cycle Friendly Design Package, Cycling Scotland; Landscape Maintenance, Clyde Gateway URC Ltd;.
The SENs Weekly Update; Kim writes: Job Advert: Senscot is now recruiting for a new Health/Community Food SEN Co-ordinator. Danielle Trudeau, who has been with us since Feb 2013, is moving on to devote her time and energies to running her own social enterprise ‘Tribe Porty’. The post, funded through Scottish Govt, will seek to provide ongoing support to both the Health and Community Food SENs and Roundtables. Closing date for applications is Friday 27th Feb. For and application pack and job description see here.  See more SENs News here.
Scotland’s intrepid land warrior, Andy Wightman, points his guns again at the (dodgy) private Scottish charities whose vast land holdings amount to a monopolistic control of the local economy. Our Govt intends to introduce ‘a statutory duty of community engagement’ on such charities; but I would challenge whether such ‘closed structures’ meet the fundamental ‘public benefit’ obligations of charitable status.
See more.
Senscot has, this week, become an accredited Living Wage Employer – joining around 1200 other employers in Scotland. The UK Living Wage campaign began in 2001 in the East End of London where parents, who wanted to remain in work, found that despite working two or more minimum wage jobs they were struggling to make ends meet and were left with no time for family and community life. It has now evolved into an example of communities, business, campaigners and faith groups coming together to address working poverty and strengthen families. See more.
For reasons that escape me – Stephen Fry called God ‘an evil and capricious monster’ on Irish TV: is it fair game to slag religion? I enjoy Giles Fraser’s Loose Canon column in the Guardian; in a recent Cambridge debate – Fraser (a priest) led the case against an ‘established’ church – Fry (an atheist) led the case for; good piece. See more.
More to my taste are the splendid secular sermons of George Monbiot – who rails so passionately against the sins of market fundamentalism – see more. He points us this week to a remarkable series of contemplations by Friends of the Earth called, ‘Big Ideas’; “mapping a route from a planet in peril to a world of well-being”… See more.
This week’s bulletin profiles a community-run sports facility (and Sports SEN member) based in Inverurie in Aberdeenshire. Garioch Sports Centre is the trading name of Garioch Sports Limited and was set up in 1990 to manage the facilities at Strathburn Park in the town. The first facilities to be completed were the Astroturf Pitch and quarter running track which opened in April 1994 and followed by the completion of the sports centre itself in 1996. The facilities at the Garioch Sports Centre are comparable to any sports centre in the North East of Scotland – with their philosophy remaining to provide facilities for the good of the community within the Garioch area. See more.
Michael Lerner has worked with cancer patients for 30 years. He makes a helpful distinction between curing and healing – I particularly agree with his criticism of the new age ‘positive attitude’ nonsense.
“Even if we’re losing ground physically, there’s extra-ordinary emotional, mental and spiritual healing that can go on. One of the most toxic new-age ideas is that we should "keep a positive attitude". What a crazy, crazy idea that is. It is much healthier, much more healing, to allow yourself to feel whatever is coming up in you, and allow yourself to work with that anxiety, depression, grief. Because, underneath that, if you allow those feelings to come up and express themselves, then you can find the truly positive way of living in relationship to those feelings. That’s such an important thing.” See more.


That’s all for this week.
Best wishes,




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