Senscot Bulletin: 07-09-2007

Dear members and friends,

I find cycling rewarding on many levels and I’m slowly understanding its symbolism. The basic contact with the ground – the gradient – physical exertion. I find this new connection with the flow of my energy deeply satisfying. From this awareness I’ve started to pay attention to energy expended when I’m with people. How some folk are hard work – uphill; others, energising – downhill. What makes this so – the uphill and the downhill people? Loud aggressive folk are the worst; the best are people who have achieved a certain stillness – who listen. I’m going to keep monitoring the way different people affect me. A kind of personal energy watch.
 Dreadful meeting on Tuesday – everyone babbling – not hearing each other – feel ignored – powerless – rage. Then I realise I don’t ‘have’ to do anything – just let it go – so I stop pedalling – pretend to make notes – switch off. Spain drifts into my mind – bright sunshine pigeons flying from a pantile roof. Near the castle in the old town of Marbella there’s a wee Plaza with scented orange trees – a café where Ramon has served cheerfully for 27 years. I imagine myself sitting there – reading the latest John Rebus – eating a banana split. Decision made! Friday (today) I’m booked on the 16.10 Globespan flight to Malaga. Next week I’ll drop you a line from the Plaza de los Naranjos. Carpe Diem.
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Seven years ago, when Senscot was raising the banner for social enterprise in Scotland, Glenys Thornton was creating the social enterprise coalition (SEC) in England. But up here, our greatest handicap has been that we’ve failed to find a political champion; someone like Thornton, Ed Miliband or Hazel Blears – who combine passion and enthusiasm with acute political awareness. Retiring as chair of SEC last week, Baroness Thornton warned that in spite of unprecedented political commitment, the advancement of social enterprise is being stalled by senior civil servants who remain unconvinced. Our impression is that in Scotland this position is reversed. What progress we have been able to make is due to the efforts and commitment of certain civil servants, operating with tepid political backing. The indications are that Scotland’s new administration, especially John Swinney, will be more enthusiastic about our emerging sector but I’m told that next week’s packed ‘Fit for Purpose’ conference hasn’t been able to attract a ministerial visit. Surely a missed opportunity.

Ian Mitchell, for several years Director of Community Regeneration at Communities Scotland, has moved over to Public Sector Reform at the Executive. It’s so wasteful – when civil servants get a real command of a specialist area – they move on – he’ll be missed. In October his former role at CS will be assumed by Shona Stephen but there is increasing speculation about whether the Agency will continue doing Regeneration or even whether it will continue at all. who-1.pdf 

It’s time to firm up numbers for Senscot’s seminar about innovation in the public sector – we call such individuals ‘intrapreneurs’. The event will be on the 4th October at the Friends Meeting House, Victoria Terrace, Edinburgh between 12 – 4pm. Our aim is to ascertain the appetite for a support network for intrapreneurs. We don’t see this as a volume event – maybe 20 max. If you’ve already notified interest we’ll e-mail you shortly to confirm a place.

Following on from the success of last year’s conference, Assist Social Capital will be hosting their 2007 event at Gogarburn on 9th November. Supported by the Royal Bank of Scotland, this year’s theme is Social Capital & Financial Inclusion’. Again they have managed to attract an impressive array of speakers from around the globe, including Professor Asif Dowla, expert on how the Grameen Bank uses social capital, and Professor Edgar Cahn, a former special counsel to Robert Kennedy. See link for more details and also the special offers and bursaries available:

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

JOBS: 36 vacancies, incl. posts with: The Nadair Trust, Homereach Scotland Limited, Edinburgh Cyrenians, Impact Arts, Rock Trust, Big Issue Invest, Blake Stevenson Limited,

EVENTS: 15 events, incl. pilot Community Market , the Square, Alyth, 8 Sept; The Melting Pot Eco-Fit-Out party, Edinburgh, 18-28 Sept; Trusts, Statutory & Foundations Special Interest Group, Glasgow, 19 Sept; Developing Social Enterprise, Perth, 19 Sept; Understanding Risk Management, Edinburgh, 27 Sept; Social Enterprise Institute 7th Annual Conference, Edinburgh, 26th Oct.

The CEiS Social Enterprise Business Models Conference in Glasgow this week attracted over 170 people. A couple of folk have commented how focussed the event was – almost as if the Strategy has brought a bit of clarity to what we need to do. CEiS also announced they will be hosting an international event for social enterprises in Edinburgh next year. We’ll keep you posted.

John Connell writes from the Caledonian Business School (at Glasgow Caledonian Uni) to tell us they’re offering a post-graduate certificate in social enterprise, the first such in Scotland. It’s a teaching partnership with the Social Enterprise Academy and it will be based on three conference style weekends. I think this will attract interest.

Show Racism the Red Card is a campaign where role models, like footballers, present an anti-racist message to the public – especially young people. Their annual Fortnight of Action (16th – 30th October) includes small grants to encourage grassroots organisations to organise anti-racists events locally. To discuss ideas, contact Billy Singh. Deadline 18 Sept

This week’s bulletin profiles the community radio station servicing the Isle of Skye, Cuillin FM.
Set up three years ago, it has been broadcasting mainly to the Portree area but now, with a new mast and transmitter, the station can now cover 98% of the island plus parts of the mainland. The station is increasingly reliant on advertising to continue their current level of service. To help with this they have set up their own on line shopping link. Found on 106.2 and 102.7FM, Cuillin FM provide folk in Skye and Lochalsh with a community based alternative to national broadcasters. For more, see

Philip Larkin’s poems focus on “the melancholy, frustrating, failing elements of life”, which some folk might find depressing, but for me his vision is stoic, ruthlessly honest – even humorous. This is the ending of one of his best: “The Whitsun Weddings”: “I thought of London spread out in the sun, Its postal districts packed like squares of wheat: There we were aimed. And as we raced across bright knots of rails past standing pullmans, walls of blackened moss came close, and it was nearly done, this frail travelling coincidence; and what it held stood ready to be loosed with all the power that being changed can give. We slowed again, and as the tightened brakes took hold, there swelled a sense of falling, like an arrow-shower sent out of sight, somewhere becoming rain.”

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

Best wishes.

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Laurence’s book, ‘You’ve Got To Laugh’ is available See: