Senscot Bulletin: 08.06.12

Dear members and friends,

I was 13 when the young Princess Elizabeth got ‘coronated’ in 1953 – we got our first TV to watch it. I remember filling scrapbooks with cuttings from the newspapers – an adolescent in love with a fairy princess. Spend this week’s holiday mostly in the garden – fine weather; neither celebrating not protesting the Jubilee – it’s just something going on in the background – in another country – folk getting soaked. I’m an enthusiast for large public gatherings – festivals – gala days; we should celebrate community more often – like the joyous fiestas of Andalucia. But not feudalism – not monarchy – the supreme symbol of inherited rank and wealth. The tourist trade is not reason enough to keep this show running – because there’s a whole supporting cast of landed gentry – doing all in their power to cling to privilege – to resist progress.
 I would toss Debretts Peerage into the Thames – return the land to the people who live on it – mutualise the entire money system – empower thousands of villages and urban communities to run their own affairs. Doubt if I’ll see it – but that’s the kind of nation I’d like to live in – without aristocracy. It’s not that I find the pomp and ceremony offensive – more comic. “The man o’ independent mind – he looks and laughs at a’ that”. It’s time to grow up, comrades – fairy princesses are for the bairns on Gala Day.

Consultation was launched on Wednesday for the Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill, Scotland; which has the potential to be either a damp squib or a significant advance in local democracy.  Scottish Govt’s traditional understanding of community empowerment is not encouraging; on an educational model – delivered by state employees – in a language inaccessible to ordinary people.  Radical empowerment means locally owned development trusts – anchor organisations – becoming major players in their local economy.  Owning land and property – operating all manner of business; energy – transport – recycling – care services; a culture of enterprise. This new empowerment cannot be conveyed by traditional ‘community learning’ practitioners. It’s the folk running Development Trusts who are best equipped to spread their movement. This is a whole new understanding of democracy which even the drag of COSLA will not deter. The new consultation paper has some interesting threads – more when we’ve read it properly. See,

Philip Blond – director of centre-right think tank ResPublica – has launched a scathing critique of the Govt’s Work Programme – saying “There’s little doubt that the goodwill and resources of charities are being exploited.”  Blond argues that charities and social enterprises should be the main contractors for the Work Programme. His voice has influence. See,

I believe that inequality (still growing) is so damaging for society – that we need to introduce a high pay commission – no-one allowed to earn more than, say, 20 times the living wage. We can’t leave it to markets alone – we need to decide what kind of society we want. I believe that the big private sector outfits should be kept well away from our world (Delloite’s Pioneer Programme etc.).  Their business model – levels of pay – undermines social justice.  In spite of the sweet talk – these people are mainly mercenaries; what they do and what we do is very different – sup with a long spoon.

Chap called James Hurley writes increasingly thoughtful pieces in the Telegraph about SE. This week’s offering is about the current flood of giant corporates – rushing to help SEs to ‘scale up’ – ‘go national’. This thinking is based on a fundamental misconception of our world – 80% of which comprises small, marginal enterprises – strong, local roots – no interest going global. Not sure what an executive from KPMG can usefully say about a café in a deprived housing estate – which takes under a grand a week – but is vital to local life. See,

When private businesses host seminars for our sector – the content is usually broad brush – poorly targeted.  Not so the seminar to be hosted by legal firm Burness in their Glasgow office on 26th June.  Stephen Phillips – our sector’s leading Scottish lawyer – has assembled issues which are spot on and topical.  There is even the question of whether paying dividends to private investors in Social Impact Bonds – distorts SE values.  I may go to that one myself. See,

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  This week:
JOBS: Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA), Edinburgh Social Enterprise Network, Blake Stevenson Ltd, Garvald Edinburgh, Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Playbusters Ltd, Lothian and Borders Police
EVENTS: Better Business Planning, 12 Jun; SROI Practitioner Training, 14 Jun; Living Balance Launch Event, 22 Jun; Village SOS Live in Scotland, 28 Jun; AB4G Conference 2012, 9 Nov;
TENDERS: This week’s tenders include Business Gateway Services in Renfrewshire, Grounds Maintenance Service in Inverclyde, Provision of Interpretation Services in Highlands and a Direct Meal Service in Edinburgh. For more details, see

NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: Social Enterprise Scotland (SES) will be hosting a series of 6 local policy seminars during the coming months. Following a meeting this week, we`ve agreed that the seminars will link in with local SEN meetings, where possible, giving SEN and SES members an opportunity to discuss and explore local policy issues. The events are scheduled to take place in Forth Valley, Argyle and Bute, Moray, Dumfries and Galloway, Caithness and Sutherland and Fife. More details soon. For more, contact . For more Networks News,

This year’s ‘Fit for Purpose: SE and Health Conference’ is now full. Over 100 delegates have signed up. If you’d like to go on the ‘reserve list’, see The event takes place at the Teacher Building, St Enoch’s Sq, Glasgow on Thursday 14th June. Places are still available for the 2nd national ‘SE and Sport Conference’ – taking place the following week (21st June) in the Trades Hall, Glasgow. To book, see .

News of an exciting development in Clackmannanshire offering a short term incubator space for emergent social enterprises. The Hub – a joint venture between Alloa Community Enterprises (ACE) and the Clackmannanshire Third Sector Interface (CTSI) – will provide retail, office, meeting space as well as workshop accommodation for start ups, businesses and community organisations. See,

Two new funds/awards will be coming on stream that will be of interest to the SE community in Scotland. Firstly, the Scottish Community Foundation will be administering the Santander Social Enterprise Development Awards – offering established social enterprises up to £50k to help fund business growth, plus access to other non-financial support. See,
Secondly, The Robertson Trust is leading a group of funders from across the UK in launching its ‘Thinking Differently – Young People and Alcohol’ fund. The fund will include three themes: Families and Young People; Young People and Peers; and Communities. It will commit over £1m over the next three years, starting in March 2013. See,

This week’s bulletin profiles a social firm in Edinburgh that is part of the Forth Sector stable – St Jude’s Laundry. St Jude’s is a commercial laundry providing services to businesses and organisations in the Edinburgh area. As a social firm, however, it aims to maintain a successful business while providing training and supported workplace opportunities for people who have experienced mental health problems. St Jude’s has been around for over 40 years and recently merged with Parkview Laundry, previously operated by Forth Sector. See more,

I was at Glasgow’s Trades Hall on Tuesday to hear Margaret Wheatley – as I anticipated – an inspirational speaker.  Very interesting gathering of Scots – from the heart of our establishment to the hippie fringe – all received her talk with great enthusiasm. See delegates,  Wheatley considers that we live in dark times for the human spirit – calling for new leadership.  This is a quote from Rainer Maria Rilke:
“Again and again some people in the crowd wake up.  They have no ground in the crowd and they emerge according to broader laws.  They carry strange customs with them, and demand room for bold gestures.  The future speaks ruthlessly through them.”  And this from Rudolf Bahro, a prominent German activist and iconoclast:
“When the forms of an old culture are dying, the new culture is created by a few people who are not afraid to be insecure.”
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