Senscot Bulletin 07-05-04



Dear members and friends,


The place we’re staying in Spain was built 20 years ago by Barratts. It is set in mature gardens next to the beach. Around 400 wee flats in a mock Andalucian style which I like. This is something the ‘Brits abroad’ do well. The notice board in reception with the Community rules. The recent elections. ‘The President this year is Mrs. G. Rushforth from Skipton’. Golf and Bridge fixtures. The neat library (contact Miss Dilys Jones). The shop with Lyptons Tea and HP sauce and the Daily Mail. Everyone pays their community tax timeously. The grounds – the security – the administration – meticulous. As long as all the jobs go to local people – the Spanish just let them get on with it.

Outside our French windows, there’s a hedge in bloom with red flowers called hybiscus where I sit reading. Over the hedge live Gladys who is 82 and nearly blind – but quite chirpy – and when I get her stuff from the shop she wants the receipts. On the other side is a family only here for the week – I stopped their 10 year old bullying a younger boy – now none of them speak to me. The young guy, Pepe who tends our garden, fancies Fatima, one of the cleaning girls, but his teeth are bad and he lacks confidence and he’s not making much progress. Watching life here is very restful but I think after a while I’d go daft.



There are several indicators that the next Labour manifesto will carry a key pledge to contract out a range of public services to charities. According to the Sunday Times, Matthew Taylor, who is drafting the manifesto in the Downing Street policy unit, believes that charities could spearhead the reform of services including mental health, care of the elderly, homelessness etc. (

On Thursday, Alan Milburn, former health minister, told 100 CEOs of charities: ‘A bigger role for voluntary, community and charitable organisations should be a key part of Labour’s next election manifesto. The voluntary sector should be a partner not a rival to the public sector. I would like to see it given the same right as the private sector to run services and bid for contracts.’ A source close to John Reid, Health Secretary, said, ‘There is a synergy between what charities and the public sector provide. We are all for expanding the role of charities.’ In Australia 35% of all mental healthcare is provided by charities, compared to 5% in the UK. (



Last week, we mentioned that Pat Callaghan (Furniture Plus) was planning to host an event in Fife for social entrepreneurs to come together, get to know each other and share their experiences. A date has now been set for Wednesay 2nd June 2004 from 10am – 12 noon. Lunch will be provided afterwards. For further info’, contact



Senscot , working jointly with the Coalfields Regeneration Trust (CRT), will be hosting a couple of events in June. The events are set for Wednesday 23th June in Sanquhar, Dumfries and Galloway and Wednesday 30th June in West Lothian. Again, the theme is around social enterprise and particularly how existing organisations can become more sustainable through developing trading activities. For further info’ re dates, venues etc, contact  or



In England this week, Futurebuilders is being officially launched. The fund will be open for applications from 5th July. The Minister for the voluntary sector, Fiona Mactaggart stated, ‘The challenge for community organisations is to become more independent and self-sustaining. Futurebuilders is an important step in that direction, sowing the seed for an expansion in the scale and scope of public service delivery by the sector.’ When the Scottish Executive launches the Review of the Social Economy Action Plan, it will simultaneously commission an open tendering process for administration of the fund in Scotland.



The only reason some people get lost in thought is because it’s unfamiliar territory –  Paul Fix



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


JOBS: 57 vacancies, incl: Glasgow Building Preservation Trust, 1st Alliance (Ayrshire) Credit Union, European Small Islands Network, Young Scot Enterprise, Move On, Rainbow Turtle, Inclusion Alliance.


EVENTS: ‘Social Enterprise – Open for Business’, SEDP-Fife event, Glenrothes, 13th May; ‘Let’s Get Entrepreneurial!’ Joint SFHA/Share/Housing Wider Action event, Glasgow, 19 May; ‘Catch the Recycling Bug’ CRNUK conf., London, 19-20 May; Advice & Info Day for social enterprises, Hampden, 20 May; ‘Helping The Social Economy Grow’ seminar, Paisley, 20 May; ‘Oil, War And Climate Change: Dismantling The Oil Economy’, SEAD event, Edinburgh, 29 May;  ‘Science in service of communities’ seminar, Edinburgh, 2 June; EQUAL Funding networking event, ‘Asset Based Development’, Glasgow, 9 June; Launch celebration for UK’s first completed ‘Earthship’, Kinghorn, 21 August.

CAN YOU HELP?  A co-housing project in North East Fife is on the lookout for new members as well as any advice, support or relevant information. Vivarium’s vision is to create affordable housing for older people which combines the autonomy and privacy of the individual household with the mutual support offered through community living.


For details on these and more, visit ‘Yellow pages’ at: 


In recent months, the bulletin has referred to Chris Cook’s work around Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP). Chris contacts us this week with news of his new website which provides information and background on an ever-increasing model that has implications for financing enterprises of all types.  Further info’: (Article:



The bulletin this week profiles a Community shop in the village of Gartmore, situated in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. Having had a service in the village since 1826, the shop was put on the market in 1997. When no buyer came forward, the community decided to buy shares and, with the support of an ERDF grant, bought the shop and opened for business in January 1998. The shop operates seven days a week and also includes a Post Office service on weekdays. Gartmore Community Shop is run by a full-time salaried Manager and supported by a voluntary management committee of 8 members. The shop has had made a small profit during each of the last 3 years and, this year, the last loan was paid off. The shop and Post Office have expanded the available services every year and have recently installed a switch facility and internet access for the local community. For further info’, see



Land campaigner Andy Wightman calls for communities to have power of compulsory purchase of land around their villages to address the problem of a rocketing rural housing market. ‘Ask the Expert’ session with Andy at Rural Gateway Network:  



I read that Alan Bennett will be 70 on Sunday – and that he’s got a new play on at the National Theatre this moth. Good for him, but I won’t see it – just as I haven’t seen any of the others. Could never decide whether Bennett is a toff who enjoys Oxford College Life – or a blunt Northerner. Suspect that he’s not sure himself – that he spans several worlds. When he was finally offered an honorary degree by his Oxford College he rejected it because they had accepted a Chair in the name of Rupert Murdoch . Good for him. I enjoyed published extracts from Bennett’s 2003 diary – knack of finding the sublime in the banal – mo one undermines Bennett better than himself – but on occasions a caustic voice. Commenting on Bush and Blair’s frequent phrase ‘Our patience is exhausted,’ he says Hitler used to say the same thing.


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

Best wishes,



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