Senscot Bulletin: 07.12.12

Dear members and friends,

I lived in the Stockbridge area of Edinburgh for 21 years – ‘Stockaree’ we called it. On Tuesday, dropping some books at the Oxfam shop – take a daunder round my old haunts. Got my first wee flat in 1982 in St Stephen Place – grotty area, moving up. Ground floor in a tenement – two rooms – grant to install shower/heating; great wee pad. Next door was Sally’s junk shop – taciturn older woman – sewn into grubby winter coat – woolly hat – fingerless mittens; a genuine recluse.
 My favourite howff was the Blue Parrot – run by good friends Brian and Dilys – writers, philosophers, serious cooks; this was the neighbourhood gang hut. Pub of choice was the Bailie – still here – I must have been drunk in every seat in this room. Bells Diner is still across the road – great burger and fries – ice creams – bring your own booze – so simple but an institution. And here’s Vinnie’s hairdresser – posh now; sees me through the window – in for a blether – laughing at some memories – but some a cringe.
 Walking back to the car – I reflect that this was probably my ‘middle age crisis’ period: too manic- too much drink – too much denial. But it wasn’t all bad – I was doing good work in Wester Hailes – a bit driven, but effective.  I don’t enjoy visiting the past – my default position is to see everything as failure. J.M Barrie said: "We are all failures – at least the best of us are". I like that – you’ve got to give it a go. 

Only one week left for Xmas delivery of Laurence’s book. See,

I always check out Ian Jack’s column in Saturday’s Guardian – we link to it this week. He writes evocatively about the intense ‘localness’ of being a Dunfermline Athletic supporter – compares it to being, say a Chelsea fan, under a cunning megalomaniac like Abramovich. He carries this analogy over to the state – which in England is passing at an alarming rate into the hands of profit driven corporations. He quotes playwright, Alan Bennett: "Less and less are we a nation – more and more just a market to be exploited; a human revenue stream – tenants in our own land – defined by the string of private fees we pay to exist here". See,

I would support a federal UK – but as I’m not to get that option – I’ll vote for independence. The ‘Braveheart’ stuff does nothing for me – the freedom from England I seek is only so we can create in Scotland the kind of society we want – a social democratic order – which looks after everyone. In a speech this week – an increasingly impressive Nicola Sturgeon – pitched directly at the centre left – what we think of as Labour territory. See,

The English SE movement has published a report called ‘The Shadow State’ – which paints a worrying picture; the bulk of public service contracts are going to giant outsourcing corporations – which have the capital to wait for payment; there is evidence that third sector businesses simply can’t compete.; and then there will only be the big boys left….the shadow state. See,

Gerry Hassan posts an upbeat piece in the Scotsman about the stirring of a new grass roots democracy in Scotland.  He takes Michael Forbes – the Aberdeen farmer who told Donald Trump to piss off – as his symbol; mentions the work of DTAS, Local People Leading etc. – and dares to write of a ‘fledgling Scottish Spring’. See,

Senscot hears from reader Michael Roy – a PhD candidate at the Yunus Centre (Glasgow Caley Yooni). He brings our attention to a new report about the social economy – from the European Commission (summary is 60 pages). He says the report confirms that Europe and the UK Govt are going in different directions on the social economy. Here is his email. See,

Senscot does work for the Govt. (e.g. ‘Developing New Markets’ contract) but raises the question of whether we are a representative body or a service provider – because they are distinct.  I believe that the SCVO model, for example, is inherently flawed – how can you make an objective judgement about third sector services – if you are one of the main providers.  For our own sake, the SE community needs to keep these functions separate.  Those who provide services – those who hold contractors to account. Shouldn’t we be talking about this more?  

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  This week:
JOBS: Instant Neighbour, Children’s Hearings Scotland, Furniture Plus, Winning Scotland Foundation, Royal Caledonian Curling Club, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Glasgow Wood Recycling, Senscot
EVENTS: Out of the Blue Xmas Arts Market, 8 Dec; Puppet Lab presents Each Peach Pear Plum, 10 Dec; Engaging Communities on Energy and Climate Change, 31 Jan;
TENDERS: NHS Lanarkshire Managed Transport Services for Passengers and Urgent Packages, The Provision of Violence Against Women Support Services in Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, The Provision of Painting Services and Additional Support Needs Schools Transport Contracts- Additional Contract.  For more details, see

NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: This week sees news of 3 new SENs being set up in the new year – in North Ayrshire, South Ayrshire and Falkirk. A couple of years back, there had been a pan-Ayrshire SEN. Now local SEs feel that a SEN focussing on particular local authorities is the way forward. Also, at this week’s Social Enterprise Forum in Falkirk, local SEs agreed there was a need for the development of a Falkirk SEN. These three new SENs will bring the total number of SENs in Scotland to 24: 19 locally based and 5 thematically based, connecting over 450 SEs across the country. 9 local SENs are now constituted and 7 are employing their own member of staff.   For more Networks News, see

Following its AGM in September, DTA Scotland (DTAS) has now appointed Sandy Brunton (Mull and Iona Community Trust) as its new chair. Sandy follows Alex Walker (Ekopia Resource Exchange Ltd) who held the post for 6 years. DTAS continues to grow from strength to strength – now with nearly 250 members from across Scotland – both rural and urban. We would like wish Sandy well as he leads DTAS forward and also to doff our cap to Alex (who remains on the Board) for leading the organisation so well in recent years. See,

Following its launch last week, Social Innovation Scotland has issued a press release giving more information on its services. The new partnership, involving Social Value Lab, CEiS and the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, will be running a programme of policy research, networking events and learning that will focus on the delivery of public services – with particular emphasis on the role that communities and enterprising third sector organisations can play. See,

Each week, this bulletin profiles the work of a social enterprise – new or existing. Over the years, we’ve built up an archive 570 profiles – probably the most extensive in Scotland. Some of those profiled no longer exist, but the vast majority are still going strong. We are conscious, however, that a good many need updated. If you wish to email an amended version and we’ll make sure it replaces the old version. See,

This week’s bulletin profiles the Dunbar Community Bakery (DCB) which has just completed its first year of trading – turn over approx. £200k. DBC, set up as an Industrial and Provident Society, has almost 600 members – covering more than 10% of local households. Since setting up, they have created a total of 15 full and part-time jobs – as well as recruiting the Scottish Patissier of the year, Ross Baxter. DCB has also qualified for the televised rounds of Britain’s Best Bakery – you can catch them on STV (4pm) starting on 13th Dec. For more, see

Heard Margaret Wheatley speak in Glasgow this year – confirmed as a fan.  She’s strong on organisational dynamics.
 "What we know about individuals, no matter how rich the details, will never give us the ability to predict how they will behave as a system.  Once individuals link together they become something different…  Relationships change us, reveal us, evoke more from us.  Only when we join with others do our gifts become visible, even to ourselves…  In organisations, real power and energy is generated through relationships.  The patterns of relationships and the capacities to form them are more important than task, functions, roles, and positions."
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