Senscot Bulletin: 07.03.14

Dear members and friends,

         Got a hurl to Perth this week – turns out the 4 of us in the car all live alone – so we swap stories about singleton living; the subtle difference between ‘being’ alone and ‘feeling’ alone. 34% of households in the UK are now single person – Sweden is an amazing 47%. I live in a country cottage – one of 5 in a wee clachan – near a great wood. Most visitors say they would go mad living here – but I sense that some would love to try it. I rented this cottage for 6 months in 2004 – still here. Finding it stressful to be constantly with people – solitude became my sanctuary – has become my friend.
         The contemporary obsession with mobile electronic devices is the opposite of solitude; incessant chatter; having no mobile is considered eccentric – as is a solitary lifestyle. Western culture’s attitudes to solitude can be summarised as sad, mad or bad. A solitary person is obviously a loser – sad; good mental health is equated with successful personal relationships – mad; solitude is often represented as self-indulgent and anti-social – bad.
         10 years in this remote setting has gifted me a precious attunement to nature’s changing seasons; but the main benefit of solitude for me is an enduring sense of freedom. There is also an awareness of re-gathering those bits of myself which can get dislodged during normal ‘people time’. Albert Einstein said “I live in that solitude which is painful in youth – but delicious in the years of maturity”.

The board and staff at Senscot would like to thank all the readers who have responded to our annual appeal for support – which raised a total of £6,250. Some organisations (associate members) are still processing donations. The register of full company members now stands at 90; would individuals and/or orgs please check that we have not missed your name. See 2014 list,

Watching Sturgeon and Lamont ‘going at it’ recently on TV – without restraint or dignity – was a worrying spectacle. Regardless of which way the Referendum goes – Scotland will quickly require sharp, focused politicians – at the top of their game; but the loathing between Labour and SNP – has now reached a level that is detrimental to the governance of Scotland; this is simply not acceptable. It’s not as though there is any discernible difference in political philosophies – Scotland’s two main parties should be able to collaborate for the benefit of our people. We now need political leaders who can step back from tribal bitterness – so that our post-referendum landscape will offer more than scorched earth and burnt bridges. I’ve agreed to be a signatory of the ‘Commitment to Respectful Dialogue’ which will shortly go public. See,

This thoughtful interrogation of Big Society Capital (BSC) CEO Nick O’Donohoe is a bit of a scoop for David Floyd’s Beanbags blog – and David asks all the right questions. Everyone now accepts that the vision being promoted by BSC – of the third sector as a multi-billion asset class for the money markets – was overblown fantasy. The real third sector requires a blend of grant and patient loan finance – well below levels attractive to commercial lenders. Now that we’ve got some of the nonsense out of the way – perhaps attention will be given to products which the real third sector can actually use.

The UK Govt’s efforts to marketise the third sector have been instinctively resisted in Scotland – mechanisms offering ‘investor value’ have made little progress. A more Scottish mechanism for the advancement of our sector into public service reform is our government’s promotion of Public Social Partnerships, see The PSP operating at HMP Low Moss is most encouraging; it brings together in partnership the skills and expertise of public and third sector agencies – co-production. See,

Good piece in the current Ecologist mag called ‘Small is the New Big’ – by Vandana Shiva. She is discussing world food production – how it is being ‘bossed’ by giant profit-hungry corporations: her point is that small biodiverse farms are not only closer to the ‘life process’ – but actually produce more food. Lesley Riddoch takes this theme up in a Scottish context – urges the Cooperative Group to dispose of its 3 Scottish farms to a bespoke social enterprise – to subdivide them for the new army of citizens, enthusiastic about growing food. I believe that there’s a social entrepreneur out there ready for this challenge; lots of us would help. See,

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:
JOBS: Changeworks, Church of Scotland, Neilston Development Trust, WithKids, Grassmarket Community Project, Venture Trust, Transform Scotland, Beith Community Development Trust
EVENTS: Tendering for Public Sector Contracts, 18 Mar; Creating Exceptional Community Hostels, 19 Mar; East End Women’s Heritage Walk, 6 Apr; SIIA 2014-15 Information Evening, 9 Apr;
TENDERS: Contract for Bulky Waste from Special Uplifts & Similar Services – North Lanarkshire Council; Care Managed Alcohol Support Service and Information & Advice Service – Aberdeen City Council; Third Sector Procurement Register – North Ayrshire Council.

The SENs Weekly Update; Kim writes: Final programme for SE & Sport Conference – ‘Inspiring our Leaders’ is now available. See, Event is on 18th March at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow. Our event will also see the formal launch of the Robertson Trust and Scottish Govt’s new £1m fund to support sport social enterprises across Scotland as part of the Games Legacy programme. See, There are still 10 or so places available. To book your place, see .
For more SENs News, see

During the last year Senscot has been exploring areas for joint working across the thematic SENs. One of the areas that we agreed to explore was social enterprise and tourism and, after a recent meeting with Visit Scotland, a number of SEN members have now signed up to their website. By doing so, SEN members will be able to access Visit Scotland’s opportunities in terms of marketing, business support as well as potential funding – see, . At a more local level, a number of Glasgow SEN members are already working closely with the Glasgow City Marketing Bureau. If this is of interest and you’d like more info, contact

This link takes you to a set of 7 photographs – of families from around the world – with a week’s food supply set out in front of them. For me it was a shock – a reality check on the lifestyle I enjoy. See,

Another first for our pals at Kibble with news this week on their latest venture – that will create 50 jobs and provide another 50 work experience placements for 16-24-year-olds each year.The Experience, based at Hillington, near Glasgow, be a major new leisure facility and as well as becoming a top venue for family outings and corporate events, Kibble is also pledging to dedicate 20 hours each week to "Karting with a Conscience"  – a social inclusion programme for disadvantaged teenagers and young adults. See more,

This week’s bulletin profiles a newish social enterprise set up to promote mountain biking in particular and biking in general in the Trossachs part of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park in Scotland. Bike Trossachs was set up in February 2012 and in May last year became formally constituted. Its initial objectives include: producing trail maps for mountain biking; working with local schools about the Go MTB Mountain Bike Proficiency Scheme; and staging a series of suitable events. They are also well on their way to establishing a dedicated bike park in Aberfoyle. For more,

Some reflections on solitutde:

“In solitude, you accumulate energy to spend in crowds; in crowds, you accumulate energy to spend in solitude”. Mehmet Murat Ildan (Turkish novelist and playwright)

“My aloneness had never bothered me; I hadn’t even been aware of it. But now it overwhelmed me. The awareness washed over me with painful sharpness and deep grief. Now that I had company.” Linda Olsson (New Zealand novelist)

“Personally, I’d rather grow old alone than in the company of anyone that I’ve met so far. I don’t experience myself as lonely, incomplete, or unfulfilled, but I don’t talk about that much. It seems to piss people off – especially men.” Kinsey Millhone (central character in Sue Grafton Detective novels)

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