Senscot Bulletin: 06.06.08

Dear members and friends,

The islanders of Colonsay, off the West coast, are trying to recruit settlers.  Five plots of crofting land are on offer – with planning permission and a grant of up to £40k towards building a house.  I’ve been on the island and its remote un-spoilt beauty is magical – reminded me of the W.B.Yeates dream of his small cabin on the ‘Lake Isle of Innisfree.’  ‘‘Nine bean rows will I have there and a hive for the honey bee – and live alone in the bee-loud glade – and I shall have some peace there.’’  It’s no wonder that the special tranquility of our Western Isles attracted so many early monastic settlements.
 Over the years I gave some thought to living apart from the world – but a life of obedience – without partner or possessions is not for everyone.  When I was young I went on retreats to Nunraw, a monastery in the borders – I’d sing compline with the monks – but when they all went to bed I’d sneak out to the pub in the village for a few jars.  I think it’s the shared living in a closed community that would crack me up.
 A spokesman on Colonsay said last week ‘‘we want people who will become part of the community – who will muck in – it’s not easy living on an island – it can be like a goldfish bowl.’’  So I won`t be applying for plot – they’ve got enough oldies.  But if I was young again – there’s something attractive about raising youngsters in a culture where everyone helps each other and no one locks the door.
‘‘I will arise and go now and go to Innisfree….’’

Down to London yesterday (Thursday) for a symposium about the progress of the English Empowerment White Paper – due out in a few weeks. 9 hours on the train for 3 hour meeting isn’t good value but I like to compare the Scottish and English scenes. The English community sector has a consortium of effective and `connected` intermediaries to fight its corner – Scotland needs the same. More comment next week but I got the impression that delegates felt the new Bill has been `got at` – watered down and that it certainly won’t “change the way that Britain is governed.” Here’s a link to a summary of DTA England’s evidence and recommendations on the forthcoming White Paper.

Donald Trump’s proposed multi-million pound golf resort near Aberdeen raises some tricky issues.  The economy v the environment; globalization v localism; enclosure v universal access etc.  Good article by Matt Jarrett of Scottish Council Foundations in New Start.  He argues that ‘the commons’ is ‘‘a new way to express a very old idea – that some forms of wealth belong to all of us and that these community resources must be actively protected and managed for the good of us all’’.  This reminds me of Edgar Cahn’s work on the ‘Core Economy’ and the whole social capital workstream.

Senscot supports the national campaign of the Create consortium to enable an estimated 3 million Britons of working age who receive benefits to do community work.  The ‘community allowance’ would allow people in disadvantaged areas to work the equivalent of 15 hours weekly at the minimum wage (£4,305 per year) without it affecting their welfare benefits. At local level, there are lots of part-time, short term jobs needing done and most claimants would welcome the opportunity to do purposeful community works.
Senscot AGM will be held on Thursday 26th June at Glasgow Opportunities, 36 North Hanover Street (right next to Queen Street Station). We have space for 50 so, if you fancy coming along, please contact
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but submit jobs and events and we’ll post them on our site. See This week: 
JOBS: 20 vacancies, incl. posts with: Space Unlimited, ACOSVO, Edinburgh Cyrenians, The Graphic Company, Visualise, Student Participation in Quality Scotland
EVENTS: 18 events Edinburgh Treefest and Woodmarket, 15 Jun, Edinburgh; The Art of Conversation, 16 Jun, Glasgow; Self Leadership Seminar with Karen Darke, 26 June, Edinburgh; Southside Festival, 28 Jun, Glasgow; Social Enterprise World Forum, 5 Sep, Edinburgh

NETWORKS 1st: Colin writes: Photos Wanted: We are trying to build up a picture of the diverse range of projects and activities carried out by members of the Networks. This is an opportunity to promote your own organisations activities through NETWORKS 1st as well as the scope of your LSEN. If you have any photos that you would like to be included please forward them to Please note that any photos sent in may be used in national publicity material to promote the local Networks.

Congratulations to everyone at Spruce Carpets who scooped the title of Social Enterprise of the Year 2008 at the Scottish Business in the Community Awards in Glasgow last night. Good to see one of the `wee guys` winning the day. See more
I can see the benefit to Scotland of hosting the first ever Social Enterprise World Forum and full credit to the spirit of enterprise which brought it here.  But the cost (£375) and the limited numbers (150 from all of Scotland) inevitably bring an element of exclusivity to the occasion. Senscot’s Colin and Anna are working on plans to stage a day of fringe events during the world forum culminating in a `knees up` at the Bongo Club or some such.  As with the Edinburgh Festival or the World Economic Forum at Davos – fringe activities can provide an accessible and challenging counterpoint to the ‘official’ programme.
News this week of the new Climate Challenge Fund, set up by Scottish Government, to help communities reduce carbon emissions. The £18m fund will run over 3 years with a maximum award of up to £1m. They’re looking for activities at a local level that range from helping to use less energy to local sustainable food initiatives. For more, see
Following last month’s scoping session with national organisations on Dormant Bank Accounts, the Scottish Government is running a series of consultation sessions with local partners. The first takes place next Friday in Paisley with three further events scheduled for Aberdeen, Fort William and Galashiels. Places are free. For more info`

This week’s bulletin profiles an enterprise in Glasgow that provides children with an opportunity to plant, grow and sell fruit and veg. Based in Glasgow’s Botanical Gardens, the Cool Fruit Company is an offshoot of the Children’s Orchard. It is a business set up to be run by and for children and young people with the aim of encouraging healthy eating and making fruit ‘cool’. Adult mentors help children set up and run fruit ‘barrows’ in Glasgow parks and other public spaces. For more, see

From Going Home by Thich Nhat Hanh

When you are carried away with your worries, dreams, cravings, anger and desire, you run away from yourself and you lose yourself. Try to live your daily life in a way that you never lose yourself.  If you can breathe in and out and walk in the spirit of ‘‘I have arrived, I am home in the here, in the now,’’ then you will notice that you are becoming more solid and more free immediately.  You have established yourself in the present moment at your true address.  When we live in the present moment it is possible to live in true happiness.

That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures

Best wishes,

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