Senscot Bulletin – 06-10-2006

Dear members and friends,

Been running on empty lately  – nerves too raw – upset by trivia. And after five years of sobriety, brandy bottles are winking at me again.  I need to get back into balance – I’m off to a mountain retreat in Spain to chill.
At airport, security flushes my half full bottle of Cool Water, Eau de Toilette (£27) which is confiscated – in case it’s a bomb?  I don’t say a word. Guy next to me on plane is lovely – my age – from Buckie – soft Aberdeen accent – but doesn’t stop talking for three hours. I try to read – pretend to sleep – he doesn’t falter. Only consolation – he has my deaf ear.  When I collect hire car – half expect Buckie to be in it.
 When I reach hotel dusk is falling – man in reception whispers I should be very quiet because the warden is feeding wild deer at the back.  For fifteen minutes we all stand immobile while six deer – three mothers and three wee ones – munch away.  It is like a spiritual experience.  Then someone moves and they all scarper into the woods – I think I got the blame for it.  Book in library with quote from Rilke ‘Be patient towards all that is unsolved in your heart – and try to love the questions themselves.’  The point, he says, is to live everything.  Find this comforting.

The quarterly journal, ‘View’, is maturing into a ‘must read’ for those of us in Scotland who work in what is sometimes called, civil society. I enjoyed an outspoken piece in the current issue (No. 6) called ‘an antidote to partnership working’. The piece suggests that the freedom of our sector to act independently has been undermined by the imposition of partnership working – with its innate flaws; it assumes that the interests of communities are always the same as the state, and it ignores the reality of unequal power relationships. Small, informal community-led groups are unacknowledged and under-resourced. I have long argued that the efforts of these groups – and the way councils oppose them – is the great untold story of civil society today. It’s untold because we’re a cowed citizenry. But moves are afoot…

On 20th October at the Trades Hall in Glasgow, Senscot is co-hosting an event with SCVO and The Commission on Unclaimed Assets. Attached is the list of attendees to date. There are still some places available, so if you’d still like to attend, contact . If you’re not able to attend but would like to contribute to the CUA’s consultation, there’s a questionnaire on our website

Senscot is a big fan of the School of Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) and particularly of their school based at BRAG in Fife. Last week, we heard that the Liverpool School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) is the latest addition to the network of schools around the UK, providing opportunities for would-be social entrepreneurs to develop both themselves and their organisations. The new school will start taking students in November. For more info’, see

Last week, we mentioned that the Social Economy Advisory Group had an away day scheduled for this week. The event took place at the Scottish Miners’ Convalescent Home in Culross. Antonia Swinson (SSEC) has forwarded this report on the two day session. See

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: 35 vacancies, incl. posts with: WECAN!, Dunedin Canmore Group, Jeely Piece Club, Inverclyde Community Development Trust, NHS Health Scotland, The Iona Community.

EVENTS: 27 events, incl. Community Initiatives and Village Associations – ‘Their role in sustaining rural communities’, Langholm, 14 Oct; Creating an Entrepreneurial Scotland: how & why does entrepreneurship matter?, Edinburgh, 21 Oct; Social Audit Masterclass, Inverness, 26 Oct; ‘Your Improvement Journey…’, Edinburgh, 8 Nov; Thematic Forum: ‘Personal Finance and Enterprise’, London, 9 Nov.

Quick update on the Executive’s Strategy for Social Enterprise. We hear that Communites Scotland received 77 responses as part of the consultation process. The Strategy is going to be re-written taking into account feedback received and submitted for Cabinet approval. Intended publication date is scheduled for December 2006.

Jim Bennett, CEO of Scotland UnLtd, is to leave at the end of October. Jim set up the organisation as well as acting as a member of the management team setting up UK UnLtd. In the early years, Jim criss-crossed the country spreading the word on unLtd and has proved particularly successful over the years in attracting external funding (over £1.1m) to expand Scotland UnLtd’s awards programme – over 400 awardees to date. Jim also played a key role in establishing the Social Enterprise Academy. Keith Simpson, chair of Scotland UnLtd, said, ‘In the past 5 years, Jim has successfully established Scotland UnLtd as a major support for emerging social entrepreneurs in Scotland. Many people have benefited from his work and it has been a personal pleasure to have worked with him.’ Jim will now be spending his time looking after his young daughter, Catriona. Everyone at Senscot wishes Jim all the very best.

The Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, is one of the best known peace campaigners in the West. In order to raise world awareness about global warming, he will use a talk to UNESCO tomorrow (7th Oct.) to call for a ‘Global No Car Day’ sometime next year.

This week’s bulletin profiles two trading arms in Stornaway on the Isle of Lewis.  The Cearns Womens Social Company, based in the largest housing estate in the Western Isles, works in close contact with its sister organisation the Cearns Community Development Project. Last year, they set up two trading companies – Apples and Pears Café and Happy Days Creche. Their vision is that within the next couple of years, the two enterprises will be able to generate additional revenue so that further community development initiatives and employment opportunities can be created for the residents of Cearns. At this present time the organisation employ three full- time and eight part time staff. For more information, see

The most influential years of our lives are the first three. No-one disputes that these set the emotional context for everything which follows – yet none of us can remember what happened. This is a quote from Elizabeth Setterfield , best selling writer. ‘We all have a period of our lives that we can’t remember, so that the child you were up to the age of about three is actually a stranger to you. I see people haunted by the selves they don’t know. I notice how fascinated children are by stories of their lives before they can remember. We arrive in our lives like latecomers at the theatre and we have to try and guess what happened in the first act.’

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

Best wishes,

To receive this bulletin directly, you can sign up here: