Senscot Bulletin: 07-10-2005

(Going out weekly to over 2700)

Dear members and friends,

Don’t know about other people but when I lean forward in the morning to put my socks on I feel terrible. Is this how everyone feels? The problem is that no-one tells us how we’re meant to feel aged 65 – how do we find this out. One thing for sure – from now on it gets worse.
 Set in the old wall opposite my house is a post box with V.R. written on it (Victoria Regina), must date from the 19th Century. In recent years most of the post offices up the town have closed but every day at 3.30, postman pat comes in his van to empty our box – which serves 5 houses. The wall under the box has wee holes where a family of mice live – bonny wee creatures with brown fur and big eyes. I leave birdseed for them. Folk have been complaining recently that my letters arrive nibbled – sometimes badly – the meece must enjoy my recycled organic envelopes. Can’t bring myself to block up the holes.
 I’m becoming a dab hand at fixing things – my reputation spreads. Made my own work bench – collecting tools – the practical world of coach bolts and jubilee clips – is more appealing to me the virtual world of computers. Whether laying slabs or glazing a window – I feel connected. Digging up vegetables and cooking them – chopping wood for the stove – I become simple – and how difficult it is to become simple. Marcus Aurelius said, ‘Always bear in mind that very little indeed is needed for living a happy life.’

Thank goodness for Tommy Sheridan, to remind us that political leaders used to have fire in their bellies – that political debate wasn’t always stage managed.  He brings to our attention that nearly half of our citizens live on under £10k per annum and that under labour the inequality gap is widening.  Glasgow Housing Association’s emerging data about its 75,000 tenants deserves our attention.  80% of the properties are in Scotland’s 10% most deprived areas; more than half the households have someone long term sick or disabled; only 6% of tenants are in full time employment.  The level of poverty which these stats indicate is too urgent for the smoke and mirrors treatment. Let’s get it out in the open.

Certain enterprises naturally lend themselves to social ownership – to collective endeavour and according to Chancellor Gordon Brown this is the appropriate model for Raith Rovers Football Club.  Along with hundreds of citizens of Kirkcaldy, Gordon is personally involved in a new Supporters Trust to take ownership of the club and establish it as a community resource.  They want the local football club to be a focus for community pride – a family social venue – an incubator for participation in sports of all kinds – sustained by the voluntary activity of local people.  Gordon suggested this week that this social enterprise model is probably the best way to keep professional football alive at smaller clubs.  It would also have great social capital benefits for communities.  Have you seen the Football Trusts website?

The new Development Manager for the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition is Antonia Swinson, a familiar face within the sector, with considerable experience and contacts – good luck Antonia. She replaces Emma Hutton who is moving to Edinburgh Cyrenians – wants to do front line work.  Emma’s done a terrific job over the last 15 months – sometimes in difficult circumstances. Her work around the Parliamentary debate that led to a bespoke ‘strategy for social enterprise’ should stamp a lasting imprint on the sector.

Excellent feature in the Big Issue in Scotland last week about Social Enterprise. Andrew Picken gets to grips with some of the key issues – the opportunities and obstacles for growth in our sector. Check it out:

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

JOBS: 68 vacancies, incl. posts with: Almond Enterprises, Possibilities East End Kids, Capital Credit Union Ltd, Four Square, The Scottish Executive, Venture Scotland, Bield Housing Association

EVENTS: Paul Zealey and Scottish Centre for Regeneration,  Creating connections, 2 Nov; mediaco-op, Visit Dungavel (Monster of the Glen) World Premiere, 5 Nov; Paul Zealey and Scottish Centre for Regeneration, There’s no business like social business, 7 Nov; Royal and Ancient Burgh of Lauder, Convention of Royal Burghs, 6 Nov; Social Care Association, Third Annual Lecture, 23 Nov.

Perennial profits – how to raise money by growing and propagating plants to sell at fetes, car boots, local events –

SPECIAL OFFERS: Senscot has a new meeting room to hire:

The next 6–12 months look like influencing the shape of things to come in the sector. The Strategic Funding Review partners (SCVO, Scottish Exec., COSLA) are seeking to commission an independent review of support services available to the voluntary sector. It is planned that this be completed by March 2006 with implementation starting during 2006/07. Here’s the brief: At the same time, Scottish Enterprise will be carrying out ‘an evaluation of Network activity with social enterprises’. We’ll post the brief next week: Communities Scotland is also developing its ‘Strategy for Social Enterprise’ due out next year. No brief as yet.  The debate about the right support for social enterprises is ongoing.  A good piece in New Start suggests these issues are not just confined to Scotland.

Don’t know what you make of the Tory leadership contest (if anything) but young David Cameron interests me.  Have you read his stuff on social enterprise ( – I think he understands it. Edwina Currie said this week ‘He’s too nice to be a Tory’.

A couple of week’s ago, we reported on the Loft Youth Project’s award from HIE’s Community Land Unit. Since 2002, the Community Land Unit has supported over 60 community organisations acquire assets to the tune of more than £13m. The success of this initiative has not gone unnoticed in other parts. Last week, it was announced that the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has set up a sub-group to explore how a Scottish-style right for communities to buy land could be introduced in England. Amongst those involved will DTA (UK).

This week’s bulletin looks at an award winning company that uses innovative methods to create significant revenue streams for many charities, community organisations and social enterprises. Redeem plc, based in Falkirk, is the international leader in the recovery, recycling, buying and supplying of used printer cartridges and mobile/cell phones. They specialise in providing substantial revenue streams to charities, social enterprises, schools, community groups and commercial organisations. To date, they have contributed over £1.5 million over the last six years to charity whilst diverting millions of printer cartridges and mobile/cell phones from landfill. For further info’, see

Sometime we get a glimpse of the strangeness of the universe – the immense complexity of the collective unconscious.  Jung wrote in his later years: ‘We know that something unknown, alien, does come our way, just as we know that we do not ourselves make a dream or an inspiration.’  The philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote in a letter ‘I must, before I die, find some way to say the essential thing that is in me, that I have never said yet – a thing that is not love or hate or pity or scorn, but the very breath of life, fierce and coming from far away, bringing into human life the vastness and fearful passionless force of non human things.’  It’s as though there is something far bigger than human beings – a greater force which we are capable of opening ourselves to.

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

Best wishes,

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