Senscot Bulletin: 06.07.12

Dear members and friends,

(In rant mode) Recently, my friend left her car in the short stay at Edinburgh Airport – £23.50 for 24 hours – bad enough, you think.  Return shuttle delayed – parking duration 26 hours – she is charged double – £47; the kind of scam you’d expect in a sleazy Soho clip joint – run by racketeers.  This is just one example of our essential civic infrastructure – once in the public realm – given over to snake oil peddlers.  Over my lifetime, the neo-liberal ethic (greed is good) has come to dominate our culture.  Those who worship money, are no longer sheepish about it; banking, the professions, media, football, politics etc – they’re all at it – on the make – bold as brass; carpetbaggers – ‘enclosing the commons’ of modern society.
 (Calmer now) The income of the Scottish social sector, is estimated at £4.2 billion – reserves of £9 billion; but our collective economic impact is unrealised – for the reason that most of us do business with banks which are openly contemptuous of our core values.  What if there was a Scottish Community Bank – owned by our sector – supported by individuals and organisations with social and environmental awareness.  Such a new institution would need to ‘piggy back’ initially on the status and systems of an existing FSA regulated bank – one with charitable status – with values we recognise as our own.  Yes, there are such!  Just imagine – a bank owned by the community it serves.  Watch this space. (In determined mode).

NEW BOOK?  It’s six years since Senscot published ‘You’ve got to Laugh’ – a selection (150) of bulletin intro pieces; well we’ve made a further selection – for publication in time for the Xmas pressies.  To ‘lubricate’ the process, we’re trying to ‘crowd source’ an initial two grand; if 20 friends would ‘front purchase’ 10 copies (£100) – that would do it.  Don’t send money yet – but please email your willingness; final decision to print depends on level of support. 

Scottish govt. wants our third sector to work together better, under a single national interface; but that’s simply not the way of things.  Cameron would like a single interface with his party – so would Miliband – but democracy requires plurality.  The social sector in Scotland has many voices – which can mostly be captured in 3 overlapping groups; traditional voluntary – social enterprise – community based.  A functional structure will acknowledge these 3 differentiated segments – both nationally and at community planning level.  The first two of these groups does well enough – but the third – numerically the largest – is largely invisible.  But it’s in communities that ‘the rubber hits the road’ – where both the problems and solutions emerge – where a sleeping ‘citizen army’ awaits mobilisation.  The proposed community empowerment bill is a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to install a bottom-up model of local democracy.  See more

This week the UK Cabinet Office quietly updated its vision for growing the social investment market.  Nick Hurd’s short statement confirms that they’re staying with Ronald Cohens ‘blended value’ model; investment targeted at SEs which can work for a better world – at a profit!  I wish!  The lack of protest reveals that much of our sector has already ‘sold the jerseys’.  Last week John Swinney spoke of hosting a conversation over the summer, around social investment in Scotland.  This week Jacqui Kileen, at our lottery, proposed to do the same.  Is this a joint initiative? T’would make sense.

Through the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) – across the UK – we taxpayers owe the private sector around 230 billion pounds – for capital assets worth around 56 billion.  I’m not joking!  Good piece by Deborah Orr examines this debacle.  Is this worse than the Edinburgh Trams?

Those of us who don’t measure the impact of our work – are aware that we need to keep an eye on this constantly evolving field; a new website has just gone online which should make this easier.  Eight English organisations have formed a coalition – ‘Inspiring Impact’ – to provide leadership on impact measurement over the next decade.  Should someone from Scotland connect to this?  Not Senscot’s bag.

You may want to get to know a bit more about Jessica – and Resilient Scotland – which are coming on stream.  A new name on the scene – Allan Farmer – a community worker who has joined Scottish Community Alliance ( he will get about the country – working alongside anchor orgs. – to develop funding proposals – mix of loan and grant.  There is a big Jessica and wee Jessica.  See more

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  This week:
JOBS: Scottish Artists Union, Edinburgh University Students Association, Rowan Alba, Perth Service, Ailsa Horizons Ltd, Blue Trianle Housing Association, Unst Partnership, Petal Support Limited
EVENTS: Portobello Market, 7 Jul; Bruncheon! featuring The Sound of Muesli, 14 Jul; Researching Women’s History In Clydebank, 25 Jul; Getting to Grips with Social Accounting & Audit and Social Capital (Dundee), 30 Aug
TENDERS: This week’s tenders include Meals at Home Service in Orkney, Social Enterprise & Third Sector Challenge Fund, Construction of The Gorebridge Community Hub and Peer review & develop energy performance information provided as part of social housing consultation. For more details, see

NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: Senscot is part of the Ready for Business consortium (, delivering Scottish Govt’s ‘Developing Markets for Third Sector Providers’ Programme. One of our partners, Social Value Lab ( carried out research in February and March, which explores the current awareness, attitudes, behaviours and aspirations of public sector commissioners and procurement professionals in Scotland. The focus of the survey is on ways that the public sector can buy more sustainably, maximise Social Value, and deepen their engagement with the Third Sector in doing so. See For more on Networks 1st see

You probably know about TED – an American non profit, devoted to ‘ideas worth spreading’.  A recent TEDtalk, by capitalist Nick Hanauer, was banned because he explodes the myth that rich people create jobs.  He convinced me.  It’s on YouTube see

Rather than the ‘big guns’, Senscot prefers to face towards ‘the new kids’ – the next generation of social enterprise start ups.  The Melting Pot, in Edinburgh, has designed and assembled an impressive 12 month bespoke support package – for 12 such social entrepreneurs.  Read all about it.

SE Cornerstone recently hosted the Scottish Premier of ‘Mission to Lars’ in Aberdeen.  Tom Spicer – who has Fragile X Syndrome (a kind of autism) – has obsessed for years about Lars Ulrich of the band Metallica.  The film tells the moving story of his trip to America in search of his hero.

PROFILE: Inch Park Community Sports Club (IPCSC) is the coming together of 3 local sports clubs – Lismore RFC with Edinburgh South Cricket and Football Clubs.  IPCSC has assumed responsibility for the important Inch Park – and aspires to become a multi sport and social facility for its wider community.  This impressive story is typical of many across Scotland – as communities strive to compensate for shrinking services.  Last November – IPCSC long awaited combined clubhouse was opened by local MP Kenny McCaskill.

One of the world’s leading graphic artists is Milton Glaser – who has recently turned 83.  He talks about the importance of older people retaining their sense of astonishment at life.
 "If you can sustain your interest in what you’re doing, you’re an extremely fortunate person.  What you see very frequently – in people’s professional lives – and perhaps in their emotional life as well – is that they lost interest in the third act.  You sort of get tired, and indifferent, and, sometimes, defensive.  And you kind of lose your capacity for astonishment – and that’s a great loss, because the world is a very astonishing place.  What I feel fortunate about it that I’m still astonished – that things still amaze me.  And I think that that’s the great benefit of being in the arts, where the possibility for learning never disappears, where you basically have to admit you never learn it."

That’s all for this week.

Good luck with your adventures

Best wishes,


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