Senscot Bulletin: 07-04-2006

Dear members and friends,

I sometimes feel that we Scots are an ‘awfy hodden doon’ people who tolerate mediocre leaders. By contrast met up last week with an old friend – a lifelong political activist and a ‘bonny fechter’. I often wonder what makes a person a ‘warrior’.  Maybe its set in early childhood – a life starts badly and never catches up.
I’m reading a novel called ‘Never let me go’ by Kazuo Ishiguro – but it has upset me – so I’ve put it aside. It gradually becomes apparent in the story that the main characters are human clones – in every way like us – except they are bred solely to provide vital organs for others – and are thereby condemned to an early death. What I found most annoying is the failure of the clones to rebel – their passive acceptance of their fate. Ishiguro seems to be saying that all our lives are in some way stunted and unfulfilled – that we can only make the best of what we’ve got. This is too compliant for me.
I know that individual lives break down, but history shows the human spirit to be beautiful and invincible. I don’t believe that any form of oppression can ultimately prevail against human reason. Without the element of resistance this novel slips into poor psychology – is not true to life. I asked my ‘warrior’ friend what keeps him going – he reminded me of a quote on his wall, ‘we may dream, but we are not dreamers – and we will never give up.’

Between 2000 – 2006, Scotland received around £1.1billion in funding from the European Union (ERDF, ESF, Equal). It is now anticipated that this figure will drop significantly for the period 2007 –2013, to approx. £475m. Scotland will be split in to two programme areas – Highland and Islands coming under the Convergence Objective and the rest of Scotland receiving funding under the Competitiveness Objective, which replaces Objectives 2 and 3. The key issue will be how the money is going to be ‘divvyed up’ between the sectors. The available pot will drop from nearly £299m per year to around £70m. No doubt the colleges, Enterprise Networks, Local Authorities etc have all booked their place ‘at the table’.  Let’s hope that this process is open and transparent and that our sector gets an equitable split. Les Huckfield gives a one page overview on how the system works.

On the same theme, the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition proposes to submit a briefing paper on the impact on the social enterprise sector of the fall in EC funding. They are looking for short submissions to the attached questionnaire by 10th April. For more info’, contact Jon Molyneux at or fill in the questionnaire here:  

Enjoyed a chat last week with Mike Palmer, the new head of the Voluntary Issues Unit. He has moved from the Health Department and exudes a fresh enthusiasm for our sector. We wish him well in his new role. He informed me that ‘social inclusion’ and ‘voluntary issues’ have been combined in one new division called SIVID. Its joint mission will be ‘closing the opportunities gap’ and delivering the recent ‘vision for the voluntary sector’. The emergence of the proposed Social Enterprise Strategy from its Cabinet scrutiny is now expected to be October.  

Last week, we announced the forthcoming Social Capital Conference in Glasgow on 9th June. Interest has been high, with enquiries coming from as far afield as Italy and Austria. We’ve now got more details of the event. See For a booking form, e-mail

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but submit jobs ( or events ( and we’ll post them on our site. This week:

JOBS: 39 vacancies, incl. posts with: Edinburgh Cyrenians, Community Links Scotland, Intowork, Equality Network, Worktrack, North Edinburgh Arts Centre, Cunninghame Housing Association, Fablevision.

EVENTS: Review of support services for voluntary sector, April-May, across Scotland;  Affordable Housing in Scotland conference, Edinburgh, 8 May; Introduction to social accounts and social audit, 18 May, Perth; DTA Scotland conference, Dundee, 5 June.

The Federation of Small Business (FSB) has contacted the Exchange, saying that as social enterprises are in fact small businesses they would be entitled to join the FSB.  More info on FSB services here: Any comments on the FSB are welcome:

From next month, FEAT Enterprises will take over the ownership of Grangemouth Enterprises. All of Grangemouth Enterprises’ operations will continue to trade under the same name but overall control of the company will transfer to the board of FEAT Enterprises. The move is designed to allow both organisations to build on their successes and move on to bigger and better things. We wish them well in the future.   

Over the last few weeks Senscot, in partnership with HIE, has been putting together a ‘who’s who’ guide to social enterprise in Scotland. With the increasing profile of the sector, it was thought that an ‘easy to read’ guide would be of benefit to those new to the sector or those wishing to find out more. We’d welcome your thoughts. It is intended to update the guide on an annual basis. The guide will be available on both the Senscot website as well as the HIE website.

Two interesting articles you may want to scan: a Scotsman piece which discusses social enterprise from the perspective of an outsider,; and Sir Ronald Cohen, successful businessman and friend of Gordon Brown, believes that there is a need for a major financial institution to act as a gatherer and distributor of funds for social enterprise investment,

This week’s bulletin profiles one of Scotland’s most successful social enterprises, One World Shop Ltd. Started in 1982, it has evolved into a leading fair trade retail company selling a wide range of handmade crafts, jewellery, textile, furniture, toys, cards, books and food amongst other things. As well as having two outlets ­ at the West End in Edinburgh and Byres Road in Glasgow – the One World Shop also provides a delivery service of fair trade tea and coffee to local businesses and offers a wholesale services to other shops. Its commitment to Fair Trade promotes a partnership between producers and consumers which ensures producers receive good working conditions and fair prices. For further info’, see         
The poet Milosz is inspired by observing the optimism of a paraplegic in this 1957 poem ‘A Mistake’:

‘I thought: all this is only preparation for learning, at last, how to die…. But a paraplegic in my street whom they move together with his chair from shade to sunlight, sunlight to shade – looks at a cat, a leaf, the chrome steel of an auto, and mumbles to himself, ‘Beau temps, beau temps.’ It is true. We have a beautiful time – as long as time is time at all.’  (Full poem:

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

Best wishes,

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