Senscot Bulletin: 08.01.16

Dear members and friends,
I often visit Andalucia for the festive holiday – but have eventually come to accept that it’s not warm enough in mid-winter; this year I stay snug in my cottage. My holiday is suitably restful except for a few frenzied days mounting a major clear out; carloads of clothes, linen, books, DVDs etc vanished from my world. No idea where this urge comes from – I`m frequently visited by swoops of energy from my unconscious.
            High personal energy can be a great advantage – in terms of what we take on, a major influence on our lives – “the specific weight of a soul is equal to the sum of what has been dared”. My own energy supply has always been plentiful – but with a compulsive ‘turbo charged’ edge – so that I sometimes overreach – come a cropper. I admire those individuals who work at what they love – rather than follow the money – a balanced, fulfilled way of life.
            Been friendly for years with Brian and Julie who run a great wee Leith restaurant; their relationship and the quality of food and service – always a joy. On a recent visit – I am the last remaining lunch customer – we chat as they tidy up. Tell them what a pleasure it is to know two people who have found an occupation they love and which they do so well – but they laugh. The restaurant, they say, is only to make money; Brian, it seems, ‘comes alive’ at his workbench – model boats. Julie’s passion is hill walking. I feel oddly let down.


I hope the mood will pass – but I enter 2016 without enthusiasm for the political year ahead; the US Presidential election; an in/out European vote; our Holyrood elections – there’s plenty meat on the sandwich, but I have little appetite. The Tories have Westminster nailed down, smirking as they deliver public services to the market. The SNP has Holyrood nailed down – difficult to discern their politics – a kind of timid, populist social democracy; the way they deal with Land Reform – with the Toffs – will be revealing (Not looking good!). 
So now we’ll have months of venomous hypocrisy at Holyrood, as minor parties scrabble for votes and for survival; groan! I hope this mood will pass – the ‘back to work blues’.


The Tories have one MP in Scotland – it wouldn’t upset me if they had none – but I must acknowledge David Mundell’s excellent speech in Glasgow recently calling for a major debate in Scotland about devolving power from Holyrood. Local democracy is not a left/right issue – over my lifetime the Tories and Labour have equally resisted localism; but I have been surprised and greatly disappointed by the determined centralism of the SNP. Given the party’s founding principles –‘the sovereignty of the people’ etc – it’s difficult to understand.


I often refer to Michael Sandel’s excellent book: ’What Money Can’t Buy’ – our society’s slide from having a market economy to becoming a market society – everything for sale. Lucy Mangan has written an angry piece about events at Battersea Park Adventure Playground – once full of stuff and children and free; now replaced by a commercial operator ‘Go Ape’ – charging between £18 and £33. Privatised public parks – two classes of children at play, segregated at the turnstile. As Sandel says: “In the end, the question of markets is a question of how we want to live together”.


A Brazilian write, Gustavo Tanaka, says that some months ago he freed himself from ‘standard-procedure society’ – and now sees the world from the perspective that extraordinary positive change is underway. I find his style a bit ‘gushing’ but most of his 8 reasons for optimism ring true. The worldwide connectivity of the internet is the unknown factor; the potential for sympathetic networks, unknown to each other, to converge into a countercultural surge. The corporations who own everything, including world media, could no longer prevent this.


In three different (relatively well off) homes I visited over the festive holiday – the conversations visited the wastefulness of universal public services; how those who can afford to pay should not receive free prescriptions; bus passes; fuel allowances etc. Apparently payments of £70 monthly are now commonplace for TV/broadband services. We need to raise the value in public consciousness of our national health service – adopt more considered, realistic expectations; means testing is clumsy and divisive but other mechanisms are possible. Lesley Riddoch believes that experience of contributory schemes in the Nordic countries can offer pointers.


NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:
JOBS: Project Officer at Re-Union Canal Boats Ltd, Heritage Advisor at Re-Union Canal Boats Ltd, Shoe Valeter at StepUp Shoeshine CIC
EVENTS: Meet A Mentor for Women, 13 Jan; Volunteer Recruitment Drive, 14 Jan; Media Training – Edinburgh, 21 Jan; Market Research Techniques, 27 Jan; Morton Fraser – Free Seminar, 28th Jan:
TENDERS: : IT Disposal Service contract – Scottish Government, Family Support Service – Dumfries and Galloway Council, Care at Home – The City of Edinburgh Council, Programme to Improve the Mental Health and Wellbeing of Young People – NHSGGC and more. Join the Ready for Business Linked-In group and follow on Twitter.


The SENs Weekly Update: Kim writes:  Over the last couple of years, Community Jobs Scotland (CJS) has seen over 6000 young people employed across our third sector. Many social enterprises have been engaged with CJS and as well as providing employment opportunities for young people in a supportive environment they have also been able to develop and grow their enterprises through being involved in the programme. CJS is now making further opportunities available for eligible young people who are volunteering with third sector organisations or social enterprises. Whether you have been involved in the programme before or not, the CJS Team would be happy give you further information – and the chance to provide a young person with a job opportunity they otherwise might not have had. Contact email address here or see their website.


Change of Date: Senscot will now be holding its 16th AGM on Friday 4th March at the Grassmarket Community Project in Edinburgh (10.30 – 1.30pm). Prior to the AGM, we will be hosting a discussion session looking at “the implications – challenges, opportunities and risks – for social enterprise and the third sector in playing an increasing role in public service delivery”. Our keynote speaker on the day will be Barry Knight from Centris – the Centre for Research and Innovation in Social Policy Ltd. Barry has, in the past, worked as an advisor to the UK Governments in economic development, the voluntary sector and social enterprise. Booking form etc available from next week.


Last month, we featured the first of Alan Kay’s new monthly blogs on behalf of the Social Audit Network. Alan sends us his latest blog – which includes the question: in assessing social enterprises, is there too great an emphasis on ‘impact’ as opposed to the values of a social enterprise and its ways of doing things.


In case you missed it in your pre-Xmas rush, here’s the SCRT’s December Bulletin. This edition features, amongst others, a brief summary of SCRT’s first twelve months; an intro to Airdrie Savings Banks new Social Enterprise Business Development Manager, Niall Alexander – as well as a feedback survey on SCRT’s recent Conference.


Supporting the Living Wage is, to many, a no brainer and something that we should all be striving to support. However, for many smaller social enterprises this is not always as straightforward as this story from Inverclyde highlights. Apparently EU legislation prohibits the Scottish Govt from making it compulsory in public sector tenders.


This week’s bulletin profiles an enterprise in Dundee – and member of Dundee SEN – that provides a social workspace for all people interested in making anything from electronics to art to furniture to software. Dundee MakerSpace’s goal is to help to nurture, grow and promote creative ideas and projects and help to guide them into products and businesses, enhancing local skills and creating job opportunities. They have a range of events and projects on the go and is open to anyone getting involved – hosting regular Monday Maker Meetups


A Cherokee is telling his grandson about a fight that is going on inside himself. He said “It is between 2 wolves. One is evil:  Anger, envy sorrow, regret, fearful thinking, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other is good:  Joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.” The grandson thought at it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf wins?” The Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.” (Two Wolves – a Cherokee Tale)


That’s all for this week.
Best wishes,




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