Senscot Bulletin: 07-01-2005


Dear members and friends,


A few of us out in Spain for some golf – at the club which has been our ‘gang hut’ since 1975.  Fernando has been here 30 years – looks after us – ‘no special favours – just a bit quicker’.  Most of our golf group is gone – to posher clubs – or gone skint – or become decrepit – or dead.  The new kids on the block now tend to be Swedes or Germans.  A recent makeover of the bar removed all our old snapshots – including one of me with Sean Connery with his eyes shut.

            My golf so far has been dreadful – the worst I can remember.  Exasperation then anger then real despondency ‘maybe I’m finished at the game’.  Yesterday, instead of golf I go for a drive – up the mountains around Ronda.  Lunch in converted mill – a Spanish family party is in full swing.  Guitars – castenets – dancers.  Highlight is an old guy on the dance floor – moving his hands slowly in the manner of classical Flamenco.  The authority and grace of his movements are like a professional dancer.  Everyone is watching – clapping time.  I ask his age. ‘Today is his 80th birthday’.  He is beautiful to behold.

            Standing on the first tee this morning I think that of that old guy – his grace – how he can still do the moves.  Try to empty my mind – allow my body to remember the moves unhindered.  And it works.  Tempo – rhythm – confidence returns.  Some flashes of pure zen. in the sunshine.  Beautiful to behold.



In Wednesday’s Guardian Gordon Brown calls on Labour to ‘make this manifesto for children’.  Referring to the commitment to build 3500 children’s centres he says ‘In the post 1945 days government was the provider for the limited children’s services there were.  We have no hesitation in breaking with old certainties.  Now for childcare the best way forward is a mixed economy with voluntary, charitable and private providers working in partnership with local authorities and community groups’.

Same newspaper – same day Peter Hetherington writes about ‘Prescott’s ‘super parish’ revolution’.  The deputy prime minister wants to see structures at community level, to compliment the local authority, with powers to run services like street cleaning, parks, neighbourhood wardens etc.

            It is increasingly clear that there is the political will in England to explore new forms of governance to develop the role of local people.  Is the Scottish Executive aware that the old labour centralism of Edinburgh and Glasgow councils will strongly resist this.



The Social Enterprise movement in England continues to advance.  The London Borough of Ealing has awarded a bin collection and street cleaning contract to social enterprise ECT.  Worth £70 million over 7 years, the contract is a major breakthrough.  ‘We are saying here that social enterprise can provide mainstream local authority services’ said CEO Stephen Sears.

            At the other end of the scale is the case study of a community shop in a village of 1000 people in Oxfordshire which involves 90 active volunteers and has galvanised the whole community. both cities and in the countryside social enterprises offers a new way to run things.  Senscot hopes that 2005 will see social enterprise in Scotland catching up with England.  Who knows?  The Scottish government may even start to use the term.



Reader Dave Keltie brings our attention to an article in the McKinsey Quarterly (Dec ’04) on the Social Entrepreneur Awards. The SEA, which entails a ‘Business Plan Competition’ first started in Brazil in 1999 but similar models have since sprouted in North America and Europe as well as other parts of South America.



YELLOW PAGES/EXCHANGE: Space constraints mean we can’t carry every notice sent but please any relevant items (before noon Thursday) to and we’ll post them on our site. This week:


JOBS: 14 vacancies, incl. posts with: Shelter Scotland, Association for real Change, Edinburgh Furniture Initiative, Midlothian Advice and Resource Centre,  


EVENTS: Crofting Course, evenings, Srathpeffer,Jan-March 2005, Be a Learning Champion! 1-day workshop, RAMH, Paisley, 19 Jan 2005;  Voluntary Arts Scotland, ‘mapping the future’ seminars, Uists 20 Jan, Isle of Lewis, 22 Jan 2005; UK Social Enterprise Coalition ‘Social enterprise solutions to 21st century challenges’ UK Conference for social enterprise  25th, Manchester, Jan 2005; SCVO, ‘Employment Law’ half-day training course, Paisley, 27 Jan 2005.


2005 sees the first Cultural Social Enterprise Network meeting on 3rd February in Glasgow, while Argyll & Bute Social Enterprise Network takes place in Rothsay on 9th February. Details: see Yellow Pages Events.



The Development Trust Association’s quarterly journal ‘Networker’ has a focus on the work of DTA Scotland in its Winter Edition, acknowledging the impact that DTAS has had in over the last 16 months.




This week’s bulletin profiles Dynamic Woods (and its trading arm Scottish Wood), a Scottish Charity that brings together local communities, environmentalists, landowners and businesses to promote the sustainable development of woodland resources. Scotland imports over £100 million worth of hardwoods each year while our trees are considered worthless, some even ending up in landfill sites. Scottish Wood and Dynamic Woods are showing how Scottish woodlands can contribute to the local economy; providing training and work opportunities as well as improving the environment and providing local amenities. For further info’, see (project profiles)  



Early in December, Scotland unLtd made its second round of Level 2 awards, with 15 social entrepreneurs receiving support to develop their enterprises further. This was followed by further good news as Scotland UnLtd secured additional funding through Futurebuilders to provide specialized support to young social entrepreneurs across Scotland. This additional money comes on top of the ESF funding secured last year. To meet with the increasing demand, Scotland UnLtd have now opened an additional office in Glasgow. For further information, see website



I didn’t know the word tsunami – now 2 weeks on and the scale of the disaster still grows.  9 million people mourning lost relations and friends.  This wave of grief has unleashed an emotional reaction which has united all nations in solidarity and compassion.  This alliance is a light shining through the darkness.



This year Marie drives back and forth from the hospital room of her dying friend to the office of the adoption agency.  I bet sometimes she doesn’t k now what threshold she is waiting at – the hand of her sick friend, hot with fever; the theoretical baby just a lot of paperwork so far.  But next year she might be standing by a grave, wearing black with a splash of banana vomit on it, the little girl just starting to say ‘Sesame Street’ and ‘cappuccino latte grande Mummy!’  The future ours for a while to hold, with its heaviness – and hope moving from one location to another like the holy ghost that it is. (Migration – by Tony Hoagland)


That’s all for this week – have a great New Year – good luck with your adventures.   


Best wishes,



If you would like to receive this bulletin directly, e-mail 

We now have a ‘pay page’ on our site. To give: