Senscot Bulletin: 06.06.14

Dear members and friends,

             Last week I’m approached in North Berwick High Street by pro Indy canvassers – tell them to count me a ‘yes’. From one to ten – chap asks – how decided are you: eleven. Driving home, I reflect that one of major consistencies of my life/work – seems to have been an enthusiasm for local democracy; all those years in housing estates – helping rally the troops against remote municipal arrogance. It’s a no-brainer for me – that the Scots must be masters of our own destiny.
           Another major consistency in my life has been my love of Southern Spain – its beaches, mountains, climate; that’s where I am this week – in glorious sunshine. We’re over for my wee cousin’s wedding – dozens of us – quite a tribal gathering. Lots of the guys are playing golf today; I’m with a happy band of women and children at the beach. For half an hour I’ve been watching a pair of three year olds; they’ve dug a hole – are sprinting to and from the sea – with buckets of water to fill it. They are full of joy and wonder – some of it transfers to me.
          I sense I’d live a bit longer if I just remain in this climate; my body loves the heat – my soul the light; but this is Scotland’s year of destiny – and I need to be part of it – this emergence. Robert Frost’s haunting lines come to mind. “The woods are lovely, dark and deep – but I have promises to keep – and miles to go before I sleep”.

We still have copies of Laurence’s book ‘Kindness’; a selection of Bulletin intros from 2007 – 2012. See,

I’m attending a wedding in Spain where most of the guests have travelled from Scotland; the topic of the week – overwhelmingly – is Scottish independence; from a dozen conversations I can discern a certain pattern. Those for whom the present economic order works fairly well are reluctant to risk change. Those who want a new economics – either for personal reasons or from political conviction – are keener to ‘roll the dice’. There was a time (prior to Blair) when we thought of the Labour Party as the natural forum for progressive politics – a time long gone. In this regard the work of the Common Weal campaign continues to progress and impress. This week, they published their book – ‘Common Weal – Practical Idealism for Scotland’ which is the culmination of their work over the last 18 months. The publication includes 50 papers offering an alternative vision for Scotland that seeks to ‘recast the economy for citizens instead of shareholders and elites’. For more or to buy a copy, see

One undeniable consequence of our forthcoming Referendum is the re-engagement of the public in the political debate. Further evidence of this is a proposal for a ‘National Council for Scotland’ – that will ensure the widest range of public opinion is reflected in negotiations with the rest of the UK, in the event of a Yes vote – or, in the event of a No vote, in negotiations for further powers for Scotland; and that "Team Scotland" is not solely made up of ’the usual suspects’. The Jimmy Reid Foundation is running a petition in support. You can sign up here,

Saturday’s Guardian (a great weekend read) carries a short column called ‘Loose Canon’; it is written by Giles Fraser – who espouses a brand of Christianity with which I can just about connect. He discusses this week – how, in Sweden, human darkness is confronted more by the leisure industry than by the churches. Part of the reason that I’m a fan of the whole Nordic noir genre – is that the writers are prepared to explore the dark existential themes of death and despair etc. Sweden has progressive politics – but much darkness.

This bulletin has championed the notion of fan ownership of football clubs – along the lines of 90% of clubs in the German Bundesliga. The main champions of this cause in Scotland are Supporters Direct Scotland (SDS). This week, it launched its new e-magazine – see,
SDS is also hosting its 2014 Conference at the Stirling Management Centre on Sunday, 15th June. Full details in link above.

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:
JOBS: Quarriers, Scottish Drugs Forum, Queen’s Cross Parish Church, Helm, Social Enterprise in East Lothian Ltd, Forth Sector, Aigas Community Forest
EVENTS: Out of the Blue Arts Market, 7 June; Community is the answer, 9 June; Poetry in the Park, 12 June; Social Value Matters, 13 June; Glasgow Cycle Festival, 13 June;
TENDERS: Refurbishment of Social Housing, Blairtummock Housing Association Ltd; Provision of Service User Involvement within the Angus Integrated Mental Health Service, Angus Council; Family Nurture Asset Based Community Building Programme, Fife Council; Consultancy Funding Support Kirkintilloch Town Hall, East Dunbartonshire Council.

The SENs Weekly Update; Kim writes: The next round of ‘Just Enterprise’ was officially launched this week – with the current contract being extended to 2016. The Just Enterprise Consortium comprises CEiS, HISEZ, Firstport, the Social Enterprise Academy, Forth Sector Development, Community Enterprise Ltd, CEMVO Scotland, Lanarkshire Enterprise Services Ltd, Ready for Business and Inspiralba. Since 2011, it
has delivered a programme of business support including start-up advice, leadership and learning workshops to over 4,300 organisations and individuals.  A particularly welcome addition within the new contract will be ‘business recovery assistance’ – for SEs that are experiencing organisational or financial difficulties. The importance of this new service cannot be underestimated and we congratulate Just Enterprise in addressing this need. See full Press Release,
For more SENs News, see

The Social Enterprise Academy celebrated its 10th birthday this week with an event in the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh. Over the years, the Academy has provided around 700 learning programmes to over 7,500 individuals; 1,500 organisations; and to over 500 schools. It has reached across the length and breadth of Scotland and, more recently, seen demand for its services extend to the north of England, Northern Ireland, Australia and South Africa. Great credit is due to the staff, Board and tutors of the Academy. We wish them the best of luck for the next 10 years. See,

Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland has launched a new three-year strategy that includes a new focus on working with communities in underfunded “cold spots” and setting up its own social enterprise to support other funders. In spite of its legal dispute with Lloyds TSB, the Foundation for Scotland will continue to receive funding until 2018 and will also retain its shares (worth circa £18m). See,

This week’s bulletin profiles Fuse Youth Café in the Shettleston area of Glasgow. Fuse provides a range of services to young people from the area. Fuse’s objectives are to develop services that can enable young people to become confident individuals, successful learners, effective contributors and responsible citizens. Their range of services include: a café area, gig space, internet café as well as informal and formal learning sessions – either for homework, further education or employment skills. Fuse is also exploring social enterprise opportunities for young people and has developed its own shop, selling jewellery made by local youngsters. All profits go back into providing more benefits for local young people. Fuse is also a member of Glasgow SEN. For more see,

We humans experience the visitation of occasional ‘grace events’ – which we cannot summon – only enjoy. This short poem ‘Gift’ by Czeslaw Milosz – continues this theme.

“A day so happy. Fog lifted early, I worked in the garden. Hummingbirds were stopping over honeysuckle flowers. There was nothing on earth I wanted to possess. I knew no one worth envying him. Whatever evil I had suffered, I forgot. To think that once I was the same man did not embarrass me. In my body I felt no pain. When straightening up, I saw the blue sea and sails.”

That’s all for this week.
Best wishes,


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