Senscot Bulletin: 06.12.19

Dear members and friends,

Wednesday evening, my fridge conks-out – dead; it’s not the fuse, so needs a more expert eye.  Thursday am, engineer wants £70 to come and look; he says Currys will deliver a new one and remove the old; he recommends this option.  Visit Currys and select basic larder fridge – £119; to reverse its door £25; to uplift old one £20; next day delivery £50; total £224.  Friday am, awaiting delivery, I move ‘dead’ fridge to clean behind – its light flutters; can’t make it stay on, but this is probably fixable.  New fridge arrives as arranged – but as van drives off, I feel very uncomfortable – the throwaway culture that is destroying our planet.

Recent decades have seen major shifts in public attitudes: smoking, drink driving, race and gender consciousness – much has changed.  Our present ‘awakening’, to the threat of climate change for our planet, is probably the most dramatic shift of all: the range and passion of public demonstrations.  The ‘default consumerism’ which just trashed my fridge, will begin to recede – the return of a ‘repairing culture’.

The relationship between people and material things is reciprocal; the act of restoring something, also tends to restore the restorer; adapting and repairing things is a natural human response – deeply evolved.  Reducing waste is going to become ‘numero uno’, a ‘survival necessity’- even capitalism will have to adjust or diminish.  Looking forward, it is likely that our world (the third sector) – will play an increasing role in shaping a less materialistic order.


After a gap of several months, Scottish govt, and COSLA have issued a joint update of the ongoing Local Governance Review; the few who believed this process was going anywhere – just got fewer: three pages of obscure waffle.  After a decade of the SNP, there is no prospect of any meaningful tier of local democracy – and we now have to conclude that this is intentional.  The most recent Briefing from Scottish Community Alliance suggests that our missing tier of democracy may be the very reason Scotland has one of the most active community sectors in Europe: a kind of makeshift/make-do democracy. But ‘ad hoc’ local governance is not good enough; there needs to be an accountable, statutory tier; it’s called subsidiarity.


“British voters are being subjected to a barrage of distortion, dissembling and disinformation, without precedent in the country’s history.”  These words caught my attention from an article in the New York Times called Britain’s Dirty Election.  Arguably the most significant election in a generation and we’re all dazed and weary.  But only six days to go – hang in there, friends.


Community Wealth Building, as featured at our Social Enterprise Conference, is set for a boost if Corbyn wins the election; the Labour Party has a national unit to promote this approach, the UnHerd site, has a useful article by Peter Franklin, explaining the basic rationale – its achievements and challenges.


Our election has been reinforcing the long-accepted stereotypes – an agile private sector (Tories) – a lumbering, inefficient state (Labour).  But economist Mariana Mazzucato, argues that the state is an under-appreciated driver of growth and innovation; she wants them to work together more.


Press release on Tuesday, announces that an award-winning community social enterprise on Barra is under threat – because the local authority is insisting on demolishing its premises.  Senscot has no special knowledge of this dispute – but a photo-call of Buth Bharraigh supporters stirs our instinctive solidarity.


I don’t pretend to ‘understand’ George Monbiot, his maverick spirit, occasional intemperate rants – but some of his columns ‘nail it’.

“Governments are deemed to succeed or fail by how well they make money go round, regardless of whether it serves any useful purpose. They regard it as a sacred duty to encourage the country’s most revolting spectacle: the annual feeding frenzy in which shoppers queue all night, then stampede into the shops, elbow, trample and sometimes fight to be the first to carry off some designer junk which will go into landfill before the sales next year. The madder the orgy, the greater the triumph of economic management.”

On Wednesday, the Cross-Party Group on Social Enterprise met at the Scottish Parliament. The theme for the day was the next ‘Action Plan for Social Enterprise 2020-23: Emerging themes, top priorities’- with a range of contributions from frontline social enterprises – as well as an overview from Senscot on feedback received via a series of local consultations – involving over 500 social enterprises. Discussion reflected much of what has been raised at these local consultation events – including prior recommendations from the SE Ref Sub-Group. Recurring themes include: devolving more resources down to a local level; recognising the important role TSIs / SENs play; ongoing issues with procurement; engagement with private sector/corporate supply chains etc. The importance of the SE Code was also noted – not just for its role as the benchmark in Scotland – but also what makes it stand out internationally. See Emerging Themes – Top Priorities.

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website.

The Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) recently published the draft of the new Scottish Tourism Strategy – due to be launched next March.  With a focus on communities and the environment, the draft Strategy looks to increase the opportunities for social enterprises to engage in the tourism sector – and making additional contribution not just to the economy – but also to health and wellbeing, environment and employability. With input from the Tourism SEN members, Senscot has submitted this response to STA’s consultation.


DTA Scotland was set up in 2003. Since then, it has gone on the establish itself as one of Scotland’s most important community sector intermediary bodies, representing over 250 development trusts – community-led organisations using a combination of enterprise and creativity to improve the quality of life for local people in urban, rural and island communities across Scotland. They are now looking to recruit a new Chief Executive – to lead them during their next stage of development. See Application Pack.


Reminder: Senscot is also recruiting for a new SE and Sport Co-ordinator. The post is funded by sportscotland and Scottish Govt with funding currently in place through to March 2021. Closing date for applications in Thursday 19th Dec. Interviews to take place w/b 13th Jan 2020. See Application Pack.


Frontline news: WLSEN members – The Larder Cook School and Kidzeco – were honoured at the West Lothian Chamber of Commerce Awards last week with Angela Moohan of The Larder Cook School won the Shona Sibbald Woman in Business Award – with Tracy Murdoch of Kidzeco named as runner up;

Angus SEN is hosting its December meeting next week in Arbroath (11th Dec) – with guest speaker, Ailsa Clark (InspirAlba) sharing info the Rural SE Hub; Just Enterprise; and supporting SEs in Argyll and Bute.

Firstport, this week, launched its new funding programme – Boost It – offering awards between £30-50K to social enterprises responding to the climate emergency and environmental issues.


With Tourism being a sector presenting an increasing number of opportunities for social enterprises, this week’s bulletin profiles a five-star visitor attraction at Fort George, near Inverness. The Highlanders’ Museum  which houses the largest collection of military artefacts outside of Edinburgh, following in the footsteps of the Highland soldier from just after the Battle of Culloden until the present day. In addition to the collection itself, the Museum is available for venue hire (weddings and conferences), runs two cafes as well as runni8ng a series of workshops for schools as part of the Curriculum for Excellence (Social Studies)