Senscot Bulletin 06-02-2004



Dear members and friends,


Thanks for the friendly e-mails about Don Quixote – lots of
folk out there love him.  I’m finding
Cervantes book easier to read this time – perhaps older people better
understand how close madness sits – in ourselves – in our friends – that many
people’s normal is surreal. Met an interesting woman who believes that we
choose our own illnesses – even madness. She says, ‘My illness’ is never an
accident – it’s a communication from the unconscious part of my life – an
indication of some ignored distress.  In
my own case I knew for years that I needed to slow down – couldn’t get off the
carousel.  Gradually my legs stopped
working- my health called a halt. I’m back now and my pace is slower – less
driven – mellowed.  Perhaps our
unconscious has its own wisdom, more in touch with what’s really happening.

Saturday attend prize giving lunch at golf club.  New heating system which no one can work – we’re all stifling in
jackets and ties.  This is daft, I think
– we’re not in the army – remove jacket. 
Blazered Committee member materialises – “You know our dress code” –
stands waiting.  I adopt half smile –
breathe deeply – don jacket.  Mike says,
“You’ve mellowed Laurence – a year ago you’d have marched out”.  I nod, “My illness has mellowed me.”  Later, ‘the Blazer’ returns – selling raffle
tickets – tell him I don’t want any. 
Mike smiles, “You’ve not mellowed that much.”



It looks like the Social Economy Action Plan is well and
truly stuck.  It has been with Margaret
Curran since September/October – the current working draft is number
eight.  The story circulating is that
certain MSPs are calling the proposals ‘privatisation by stealth’.  But the policy document on which the action
plan was based was approved by the Scottish Cabinet over a year ago – surely
that was the time for debating the politics. 
What we see now is how municipal and factional attachments can
compromise national governance – a Parliament fashioned from the rib of
Labour’s fiefdoms. Many organisations, including Senscot, have invested a lot
of time helping the Executive shape this plan. 
Unless Margaret  Curran can find
the clarity and resolve to deliver it politically – then there is a real danger
that the Executive will shoot itself in the foot.  Senscot is talking to SCVO about drafting a letter to the



Last week we mentioned that the Small Firms Enterprise
Development Initiative (SFEDI) is to incorporate Social Enterprise into its
core business development standards. Chris Higgins emails from Inverness: “HIE
is working directly with SFEDI to achieve a form of accreditation for our
business advisors which will include the new social economy units… most of our
frontline staff, mainly generalists, already have practical experience but this
will take us a step further.” HIE is much more comfortable with the importance
of the social economy than Scottish Enterprise whose involvement can only be
described as patchy. Senscot can’t get hard info’ about SE’s Network’s target
to engage with 115 social enterprises this year. Our only information is
anecdotal and not encouraging.



Good interest in the CRNS event on 7th April in
Stirling which Senscot is co-hosting. For details, contact



Payment is not a condition of receiving the Senscot Network
Bulletin – hope it never will be – but in 2003 it cost approximately £22 per
person to produce 50 weekly editions and maintain our website. We invite
donations for 2004 from individuals of £10, £25 or £50 – and from organisations
of £50 or £100.  Money collected is ring
fenced into a development fund for new Senscot projects. Please send a cheque
payable to Senscot, 54 Manor Place, Edinburgh, EH3 7EH or use a credit card at
our donations page.  (  This week 9 people donated a total of  £340.



YELLOW PAGES: Space constraints mean we can’t carry every
notice you send. But please send in any relevant items (before noon Thursday)
to and we’ll post them
on our site.  This week:


JOBS: 51 vacancies including Citizens Advice Scotland, SCVO,
The Bike Station, EVOC, Forth Sector (SEDI), Drumchapel Opportunities, Scottish
Out of School Care Network, Social Firms Scotland.


EVENTS: Performers wanted for Year of the Disabled
productions of the Threepenny Opera – meetings in Aberdn., Glasg., Edinb., Feb
for June 2004; CHE lecture ‘Can responsible public sector purchasing make a
difference?’ Edinburgh, 13 Feb; FOE Scotland, ‘Environmental justice in the
workplace’ course, applic. deadline 20 Feb; Charity Law Reform Seminar,
Glasgow, Feb 23; ‘Fair pay, working conditions and funding for the vol. Sector’
free seminar, Glasgow; Earthship seminars in Spain, April.


New EQUAL Partnership bulletin available:


Please e-mail Emma for further information on the CRNS,
Senscot and Social Firms Scotland event.


For details on these and more:


NEWS: For the latest social enterprise news stories, see



Scottish Urban Regeneration Forum (SURF) seminar in
Edinburgh on February 26th features the Lady Provosts of  Edinburgh and Glasgow talking about
leadership and regeneration. Paisley University’s  Chick Collins offers a more radical perspective. Details:



This week’s bulletin profiles a community initiative in East
Ayrshire that arose from the threatened closure of he Newmilns Ski Slope.
Newmilns Snow and Sports Complex (NSASC), now a company limited by guarantee,
was established in January 2001 following a petition  from almost 1000 local people opposed to the closure of the Ski
Slope. NSASC is dedicated to the retention and improvement of the existing Ski
Slope facility in Newmilns as well as developing additional leisure and
educational activities that will be of benefit to the local community. NSASC
has now reached agreement with East Ayrshire Council to make good defects on
the site and a formal handover is due to take place later this year. For
further info, see (‘Project profiles’)



From different folk I kept hearing about a magazine called
Resurgence – so I made enquiries – Emma leant me some of her back copies – what
a delight it is.  Thinkers, activists,
visionaries, artists.  Ecology,
sustainable agriculture, holistic science – meets – creative living, spiritual
wellbeing, arts, crafts, books.  In my
past it would have been too ‘sandals and candles’ for me but the year 2003 has
shifted me a bit.  It’s encouraging that
such a community as Resurgence exists – to visit – to relate to.  I’ve taken a subscription – six copies a
year.  Worth taking a look (



With my subscription to Resurgence I received a free book –
a wee stoater called, ‘Timeless Simplicity’ by John Lane, “This book is about
simplicity – not destitution, not parsimony, not self denial – but the
restoration of wealth in the midst of an affluence in which we are starving the
spirit.  It is a book about the
advantages of living a less cluttered stressful life – having less and enjoying
more.”  (
100 great quotes about simplifying your life.

“Always bear in mind that very little indeed is necessary
for living a happy life” – Marcus Aurelius

“Asceticism is not that you should not own anything but that
nothing should own you” –Ali Ibn Ali Talib

“Man falls from the ideal of plain living and high thinking
the moment he wants to multiply his daily wants. It took Britain half the
resources of the planet to achieve this prosperity. How many planets will a
country like India require? Man’s happiness really lies in contentment.” –
Mahatma Ghandi


That’s all for this week – Persevere – the most unlikely
victories are possible – Glory to the Hi-bees.

Best wishes,



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