Dear members and friends,
Sometimes, for no apparent reason, it’s as if I fall down a trapdoor – everything becomes dark and desolate. All strings untuned. All colours faded. A familiar sadness settles. In the past I would look for company – break out the booze – head for oblivion. My life without drink has found alternative comforts – like my garden. The simplicity and satisfaction of weeding – kneeling, turning the soil, making order from exuberant chaos. This week under a great yew tree, I found the place where they tip the cut grass from the graveyard. Some of it beautifully composted now enriches my flowerbeds. Sometimes, working manually, I get so absorbed in my task that time, hunger, fatigue are forgotten. This kind of creative engagement and fulfilment – a state of ‘Flow’ – may be the closest any of us come to being happy.
Today it’s raining from leaden skies – cant shake off a nervous foreboding. My mood has escalated the global flu and recession into food shortages – citizen riots – breakdown of law and order. We’re all doomed! Up to the village shop at lunch time – Martin, an old worthy, is reading a hoarding for the local newspaper. ‘‘Don’t you find this comforting Laurence?’’ he asks. The poster reads: ‘‘Stranded local cat rescued.’’ We exchange smiles. In our part of the world life goes on as normal.
Senscot started in 1999 – same year as the Scottish Parliament – and from our limited perspective the report card is mixed. From the outset, Senscot raised the banner for social enterprise in Scotland – but our national government was slow to see the benefits. When, however, the penny dropped – the response was wholehearted and our present support infrastructure is impressive. This was achieved through the quality of dialogue between civil servants and practitioners – the mark of a government much closer to citizens than its predecessor. This new culture of openess is a significant achievement. Autumn will see the 500th Senscot Bulletin – 50 per year for 10 years. We’ll host some celebration – but it’s also a good time to evaluate where we’ve been and where we should be going – new adventures? I enjoyed Kenneth Roy’s musings on Parliament first decade. https://senscot.net/?viewid=8103
The UK government wants to bring in the private sector to sort out the Post Office and Royal Mail – but Labour MPs are in open revolt. Good piece in Tuesday’s Guardian by Polly Toynbee supporting the proposal to restructure the whole thing as an independent not-for-profit company – to return Post Offices as centres of community life. Both Labour and Tory politicians like to `talk the talk` about social enterprise and the Third Sector – but when it comes to the big stuff, do they take us seriously? We shall see.
Public discussions about money, between Scottish Government and the UK Treasury, are usually heated and not easy to decipher. For this reason I was grateful for Stephen Maxwell’s column this week – a considered (if bleak) appraisal of what lies ahead for the Scottish Budget. It’s beginning to dawn on me just how tight money is going to become – that some organisations delivering vital community services could disappear.
Senscot is currently exploring the feasibility of establishing a Legal Practice, focused on the needs of social enterprise – and which is itself a social enterprise. Such an organisation could build, and recycle economically, a growing body of specialist legal expertise about our sector. We will shortly carry out a survey to assess demand/interest in such a service and would be glad of your assistance with our research.
DTA Scotland holds its 6th Annual Conference in Dunblane next month (7th/8th June). If you want to attend Scotland’s largest community sector event, see details http://www.senscot.net/view_event.php?viewid=8106
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but submit jobs and events and we’ll post them on our site. See http://www.senscot.net/jobsevents.php. This week:
JOBS: incl. posts with Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights, Childline in Scotland, Depression Alliance Scotland, Barnardo’s Scotland, Dr. Bell’s Family Centre, Stepping Stones for Families, Forth Sector, Midlothian Sure Start, Simpson House Counselling, SACRO, Greater Glasgow NHS Trust
EVENTS: Fintry Renewable Energy Show, Fintry Development Trust, 9 May; Facilitation Training Day, Talk Action, 15 May; Social Capital and Community Resilience, New Lanark, 4 June; Peas vs. Pills Health Workshop, Edinburgh, 6 June; CIC Forum, SSEC, 3 Jun; Banking, regulation and the public interest, University of Glasgow, 4 Jun;
NETWORKS NEWS: Colin writes: Senscot will be hosting two further meetings on the Social Enterprise Mark (SEM). The first is in Glasgow on 11th June in the Wise Group’s offices at 72 Charlotte Street, from 2 pm – 4 pm. The second will be held on 17th June at Aberdeen Foyer’s Marywell Training &Conference Centre in Marywell Street, Aberdeen, also from 2 pm – 4 pm. To book a place, contact email@example.com. For more Networks News, see http://www.senscot.net/networks1st/showart.php?articleid=88
Assist Social Capital`s International Conference at New Lanark is attracting wide interest. See this week`s feature in Social Enterprise Magazine http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8112
Social Investment Scotland (SIS) is extending its survey on the sector’s investment needs until 20th May. Already they’ve received almost 100 responses. Let them know your thoughts on what’s available. See details http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8052
Senscot believes that social enterprise offers a highly appropriate model for the governance of football clubs – to embed their ownership in the communities where they belong. Our best wishes to Stirling Albion who are currently engaged in this process. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8104
An Australian woman, Joanne McNeil, on a Churchill Fellowship, has produced a report about the emergence of social enterprise in the UK which is worth the attention of people who are interested in this subject. I’ve selected two pages from her ‘learnings’ which challenged my thinking.
Senscot salutes the memory of Betty Stevenson, the legendary Glasgow housing campaigner, who has died aged 75. Betty will be remembered as a passionate champion of community control – but also by her many friends, for her smile, her kindness, and her sparkling eyes. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8108
This week’s bulletin profiles an emerging social enterprise from the Fablevision stable. Transform TV has been set up with the intention of providing a community TV channel for the whole of Scotland, where young people learn TV and media skills and, at the same time, highlight issues affecting their areas. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=8110
If you don’t already know it, you may want to check out the work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced chick-sent-me-high-ee). This quote is from his best known book ‘Finding Flow’.
“Contemporary understanding of matter and energy also suggests a new way of thinking about good and evil. Evil in human affairs is analogous to the process of entropy in the material universe. We call evil that which causes pain, suffering, disorder in the psyche or the community. It usually involves taking the course of least resistance, or operating according to the principles of a lower order of organization. Entropy or evil is the default state, the condition to which systems return unless work is done to prevent it. What prevents it is what we call ‘‘good’’ – actions that preserve order while preventing rigidity, that are informed by the needs of the most evolved systems. Acts that take into account the future, the common good, the emotional well-being of others. Good is the creative overcoming of inertia.” Read more, https://senscot.net/?viewid=8109
That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures
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