Senscot Bulletin: 07.02.14

Dear members and friends,

            Both books and DVDs – I am many years a fan of Kurt Wallander – Henning Mankell’s troubled and troublesome Swedish detective. Alongside these dark and menacing police thrillers – runs the narrative of flawed individual wrestling his inner demons; a fretful, troubled maverick – bad tempered, compassionate, determined; in his plentiful failings we see one of us.
 Last week, Mankell (66) announced that he has been diagnosed with cancer – one tumor in his neck – another in his left lung – but it may have spread further – doesn’t look good. He says that he has decided to write about the progress of his illness – telling it just as it is – but from the point of view of life – not death.
            In an interview 3 years ago, Mankell said: “at my age, the best definition of love is that you are with the person you want to hold your hand when you die.” I remember thinking at the time – how self-centred that sounds – but I was wrong – there is nothing more natural. Speaking last week about his reaction to being told of his cancer – he says that he has no memory of the journey home – other than a deep gratitude for the presence of his wife, Eva. His anxiety, he says, is profound – but, so far, mostly under control.
 I find Mankell’s writing rich with insights into the human condition. If he does in fact decide to share his ‘via dolorosa’- it will be special. Not sure it’s something I could do. 

Senscot is inviting financial donations from readers who wish to contribute to the cost of producing this bulletin.  Traditionally, circa 100 individuals give an average of £25 to become full company members. Senscot’s board is elected by – and is accountable to these members. We also invite donations from individuals or organisations who simply want to support what we do. To join or to donate, see . An invoice can be supplied on request. See this year’s list – so far,

Ronald Cohen – credited as the inventor of Big Society Capital and Social Impact Bonds – made a speech recently which suggests a change in thinking; that his vision of the third sector as a new ‘asset class’ for commercial investment – is faltering. Because our sector won’t pay dividends, he says, it has failed to grow organisations with sufficient scale to solve social problems; but one senses that he now realises – that he failed to understand how different our culture is. SIBs, he now admits, are too cumbersome – the paperwork takes 18 months. He ended with the amazing ‘revelation’ that not for profit organisations have many advantages; that they don’t need to pay dividends; that government and users suspect profit motive; that young people prefer working for them. Did anyone really not know this. See,

The Yunus Centre at Glasgow Caledonian Yooni plays a valuable role in providing Scotland’s SE sector with an underpinning of credible research. The man in charge there, Cam Donaldson (and a member of the SE and Health Roundtable), has a good piece in this week’s Scotsman – outlining two major research projects. The first is health related – and seeks to demonstrate that, of its very nature, SE improves the health of the nation. The second will seek to identify which specific support factors enable SE to flourish. Both of these studies have the potential to shape policy. See,

The Herald obit was my first intimation that Alan Finlayson has died. He was Edinburgh’s first Children’s Reporter when we opened Panmure House in the early 1970s – as an alternative to removing kids from home. One of Scotland’s leading children’s rights lawyers – he became an influential supporter and friend. Self-effacing and cheerful – he was always a pleasure to be with – a gentlemen.

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:
JOBS: Ullapool Community Trust, Edinburgh University Students Association, GalGael Trust, Isle of Rum Community Trust, SHAX Homeless Charity, Transition Extreme Sports Limited
EVENTS: SME & Social Enterprise Sales Workshop, 11 Feb; Top Tips for Public Speaking, 12 Feb; LGBT Acronym Launch Event, 17 Feb:
TENDERS: Grounds Maintenance Term Contract 2014-16 – Ochil View Housing Association, Provision of Early Years and Childcare – Glasgow City Council, Mental Health Outreach Service for Adults – Aberdeen City Council and Cullet Recycling – East Ayrshire Council.

The SENs Weekly Update; Kim writes: A couple of weeks back we highlighted the fact that the proposed Scottish Govt’s 2nd stage consultation on the European Structural and Investment Funds 2014-2020 was lacking any specific reference to support for social enterprise and the social economy. Since then, we are pleased to report that Senscot and Social Firms Scotland have subsequently met with Scottish Govt and with SCVO. Discussions are ongoing but we hope over the next couple of weeks a clear programme of support for both social enterprise and the community sector can be incorporated into a wider third sector proposal – in keeping with the recent Strasbourg Declaration. See,
For more SENs News, see

Still 5 weeks to go to book your place at the Sports SEN conference – “SE & Sport – Inspiring our Leaders”. Over 80 folk have registered already. The event is geared at being a great opportunity for inspiration, learning and networking for both established and aspiring sports related social enterprises and others – all looking to make a difference through sport.  To book your place, see
Following last week’s announcement of the extension of their Ditto programme – see,, Firstport, this week, has announced the latest raft of awardees – both at Level 1 and 2. Since it started in 2007, Firstport has handed awards to around 600 individuals across Scotland. See latest list,

Writer Damian Barr has blogged in the Guardian about the ‘Buckfast triangle’ – where, he says, he himself grew up; an area enclosed by Airdrie, Coatbridge and Bellshill. We could dispute precise locations – but the point is well made; there are parts of Scotland that have fallen behind the rest of us; we try not to think about them too much; Buckfast wine – concocted for maximum inebriation – has become a symbol of profound social breakdown. Those of us who like to imagine a better, fairer Scotland – need to include these places into the equation. The Labour party needs to examine it’s conscience about these ‘heartlands’; the words ‘wilful neglect’ come to mind. See,

Our ‘SE Map of Support’ – – continues to generate a lot of interest (nearly 700 unique visits on website) – and responses/observations are still coming in. To clarify a couple of points; the Map is identifying organisations that offer support nationally; we’re not including orgs that are solely funders; links for bespoke thematic support will be added shortly. Meanwhile, the Community Food Roundtable is exploring the possibility of a community food ecommerce platform – to support the selling of community food social enterprise products. If you’re interested, can you take a few moments to fill in the attached survey See, For more on this, contact

This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise in Cumbernauld that actively supports cycling within the community. I Am Bikes (IAB) recycle and refurbish bikes, organise cycling groups, run cycling maintenance classes – all with the aim of encouraging more people to cycle more often and in support of the Cycling Action Plan for Scotland – whose vision is that by 2020, 10% of all journeys taken will be by bicycle. IAB sees cycling as a great community pastime, raising fitness and family interaction and also providing skills in its local community. For more see,

Sarah Settelen, speaking in ‘Unconditional Love’, about her daughter Ellie. Ellie suffered from multiple disabilities and died at the age of 4.

“I had so many needs, needs that because of her condition, she wasn’t able to fulfil. So what I had to learn from Ellie was that those needs had to be fulfilled within myself. I don’t think, now, that any of us are able to love anyone else unconditionally until we can love ourselves unconditionally, and that is the process Ellie took me through. She taught me to stop relating to myself and defining myself through other people; to love myself without any expectations and completely unconditionally, and then I was able to love her unconditionally. Unconditional love is incredibly liberating.” (This is the second half of a longer paragraph – full para here).

That’s all for this week.
Best wishes,


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