Senscot Bulletin: 07.10.11

Dear members and friends,

The swallows are long gone from my bit – and the sweet peas are done; Autumn has its own beauty and moods – I can enjoy melancholy; but trees are being stripped now by the squally wind and rain – early snow is forecast. I’m stacking logs for burning – preparing the garden for winter’s grip; but I’m not prepared myself. Scotland’s summer failed again, didn’t it – not enough light or heat to carry us over; reserves are low.
 So I’m in Spain for a week with a friend – we always take the same ‘casita’ on the beach near Estepona. It’s noon – 28 degrees – shorts and vest; I’m sitting slightly in the shade – but if I lean to the left, I’m in full sunshine; when toasted – I lean right. The hedge is hibiscus – pillar-box red blooms – there is magenta bougainvillea – pink and white oleanders. This feeling of wellbeing is beyond psychological or spiritual. It feels like the physical reconstruction of brain and body cells.
 Yesterday, we went up into the hills to visit friends who live in Ronda – a town we both love. They live in the ‘barrio San Francisco’ – lunch ‘al fresco’ in the main square. An array of ‘Rondeno’ dishes keep arriving – for three hours. A dozen locals arrive and depart – conversation moving easily between Spanish and English. The pace of life slower than ours – more convivial.  A culture born of light – heat – food – and fiesta.


The Senscot Seminar last Friday seemed to go well – positive feedback. See Laurence’s speech, . The general understanding is that this is not the end, but the beginning, of an important debate for the SE community in Scotland; how we defend our brand from increasing private sector encroachment. Jim Mullan (KibbleWorks) made a suggestion which enjoyed wide support; that we draw up a ‘voluntary code of practice’ – which SE boards can sign up to. This would be neither regulated nor policed – just a voluntary agreement among ourselves – defining the values and behaviours of authentic social enterprises. It would then be clear to the ‘chancers’ that they sit outside a voluntary community.  Our third speaker, Geof Cox, takes a different view – a more inclusive one. He sends these reflection on his visit,

Ironically, as we, in Scotland, were discussing how to defend our brand from increasing private sector encroachment, it is becoming clearer that our colleagues in England have a far greater, and more immediate, challenge on their hands. Nick O’Donohoe, CEO of Big Society Capital (BSC) admitted, last week, that defining a social enterprise would be an issue for BSC. He posed the question: “Is an enterprise in a deprived area giving jobs to the unemployed, but making a total financial return a social enterprise? – It’s still an open issue”.  See, . Is BSC not aware that the UK Govt issued an official definition of social enterprise in 2002 – when Barbara Philips was with the DTI? It says: “An SE is a business with primarily social objectives – whose surpluses are primarily reinvested for that purpose in the business – or in the community – rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners”. O’Donohoe and his chair (Ronald Cohen) may not like the definition but it’s not an open issue. 

It is expected that Scottish Govt will launch its new Regeneration Strategy later this year. Much of the talk is that the Strategy will focus on an approach which depends on communities taking the lead – there appears an acknowledgement that ‘top down’ doesn’t work. This sounds good but the term ‘Community led’ often means different things to different people. The Scottish Community Alliance (SCA) has put together a short paper, setting out a definition of community led regeneration and arguing that it won’t happen without direct investment. See more,
It’s good to hear that the Dormant Bank Accounts Fund is now moving forward – with the expectation that funds will begin to be distributed prior to the financial year end. Last week, John Swinney wrote to the Big Lottery “to formally issue the finalised terms of the Policy Direction”. In Scotland, four themes have been agreed – Opportunities for children and young people; Addressing health inequalities through increased activity; Bridging the gap between older and young people; Creating community based employment opportunities. See more,

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  This week:
JOBS: Crisis, RAMH, Action for Sick Children, Craft Town Scotland/West Kilbride Community Initiative Ltd, L’Arche Edinburgh, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Turning Point Scotland, Forth Sector, Garvald Edinburgh, Women Onto Work
EVENTS: Big Opportunities for Small Communities, 18 Oct; Action Learning for Active Citizenship, 31 Oct; Mainstreaming Service User Involvement, 31 Oct; Six Steps to Sustainability – Free Training, 1 Nov; Tools, Tips & Techniques for Involvement 1 Nov;
TENDERS: Halbeath Park & Choose – Car Park and Facilities Building, Provision of catering services for Scottish Public Pension Agency and staff at HMP Edinburgh, Tendered Local Bus Services in Angus and a
Feasibility Study into a Hydro Energy Project in Bannockburn.

NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: This year’s Ceilidh is just about full. There are only a handful of places still available for ‘overnighters’ altho there will be additional places available for day delegates. If you don’t want to miss out, book your place here, .More importantly, Friday 14th October is the deadline for applications to enter the Dragons’ Den. As in previous years, we’ll be selecting 5 applicants to go forward to face the Dragons. If you’d like the chance to make a pitch to the Dragons, apply here,  We also hope to have our programme finalised for next week. For more Networks News, see

Senscot has been involved in supporting Social Enterprise Networks (SENs) since 2004 – the first was in Fife. Today, there are 22 SENs – 16 local and 6 thematic. Between them, over 350 social enterprises are active or engaged with a local or thematic SEN. They are all different – some have matured, others less so – but all remain an important reference point for their members. Over the coming weeks, we will be updating Networks 1st website to better reflect the scale and activity of the SENs.  This will include a ‘Usability Survey’ which we will be circulating next week. See,  All comments welcome.

The Social Enterprise Mark was set up in 2010 as a joint venture between Social Enterprise UK and RISE ( ). It was announced this week that RISE is now to become the sole shareholder. See,

One of Senscot’s core activities is to recognise and report on initiatives which are helping to make a good society in Scotland. The “Changin’ Scotland” events – hosted by Jean Urquhart at the Ceilidh Place in Ullapool – have for many years set a very high standard. Co-host Gerry Hassan is one of my favourite Scottish political commentators and the next event (4th-6th Nov) features a very strong cast across the range of politics, culture and ideas. See more,

Last month’s CEiS event in Glasgow was a big success and they’ve now produced their Conference Report. CEiS will also be running the joint S2S/Voice event – to be titled ”The Social Enterprise Exchange” – at the SECC in Glasgow on 27th March 2012. See Report, 

This week’s bulletin profiles an Angus SEN member, Kipcom, a computer recycling and disposal service, based in Forfar. Kipcom’s service is personally tailored to their customer’s specific disposal needs and will consider any size of disposal assignment whether it be one or two items or a whole warehouse. Supported by both SEPA and Firstport, Kipcom’s customers include, amongst others, the University of Dundee, NHS Scotland and Angus Women’s Aid. For more, see

Steve Jobs (until recently CEO at Apple) died this week. In June 2005, he gave this graduation address at Stanford University. It’s uplifting.

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like all great relationships, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

See his full address here,

That’s all for this week.

Good luck with your adventures

Best wishes,


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