Senscot Bulletin: 08.08.08

Dear members and friends,

Group of us chatting – before the meeting starts – big woman arrives – decides we should save some energy – turns off half the lights.  During the coffee break she lectures me on how much energy was wasted producing my bottle of fizzy water.  This kind of evangelical eco warrior is becoming more common – really annoying.
 I encountered ‘‘moral certainty’’ early in my life.  From good people – concerned for my immortal soul – I received ‘‘the revealed word of God’’ – a mixture of timeless wisdom and noxious nonsense.  Later the socialists had a go at my soul.  ‘‘The difference between us Laurence is that we are revolutionaries – you are not’’.  The revealed word of Marx.  So now I steer clear of fundamentalists.  The emerging belief system of our times is a deep ecology – concern for the survival of our planet – in general I find its apostles an honest bunch.  They claim that in the West, our consumption makes us all hypocrites, unwilling to make the required life changes – difficult to disagree.  This movement needs to beware the emergence of a bossy ‘priesthood’ – irritating games like switching off folks’ lights.
 On my way home from the meeting a colleague says ‘‘Boy, you have a problem with assertive women – you two were arm wrestling all afternoon’’.  ‘‘Oh come on’’, I say, ‘‘that woman was spoiling for a scrap – she’s a bully’’.  But now I’m wondering if it’s me.
Next year, Scotland’s Third Sector will receive a one off windfall of around £40m from dormant bank accounts and our government is currently conducting a consultation on how this money should be allocated.  The problem with these consultations is that the opinions best heard are inevitably from the best organised groups – which can present written evidence etc.  Our very poorest citizens and communities are excluded by the process.  Senscot believes that the £40m should not be distributed to the usual suspects – but should be endowed to Scotland’s 20 poorest communities.  It should be invested to provide them with an independent income of around £100k per annum in perpetuity.  Generations of state run regeneration partnerships have failed to impact on these areas.  It’s time to invest in locally driven regeneration vehicles.  Here’s an extract from a recent speech

Edgar Cahn’s use of the term ‘‘core economy’’ refers to the basic tasks which enable society to function – make life worthwhile.  It’s raising the kids – the joy of their play.  It’s shared support with your family and friends and neighbours.  It’s society’s core operating system on which everything else can be overlaid.  Robert F Kennedy captured it in this 1968 quote  Cahn’s thinking is close to what we mean by ‘‘social capital’’.  It’s also close to what David Cameron means by ‘‘social value’’ in a recent speech.  It’s ironic that it’s the Tories who are trying to steer our national philosophy beyond an obsession with economic value.
Mel Young, President of the Homeless World Cup, tells us that they hold heats – national championships – in each country.  In Kenya over a weekend, 264 teams took part (3000 homeless players) watched by 50 thousand spectators!  The organisation has negotiated a substantial sponsorship package and are now recruiting for 8 posts.  They’re looking for high energy, talented, visionaries with a passion for football and a passion to build a global sports organisation which is changing the world.
This week saw the publication of Scottish Government’s Household survey annual report – which I always find a useful snapshop of where we’re at.  Interesting to note that 30% of adults have provided unpaid help (volunteered) in the last 12 months.
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but submit jobs and events and we’ll post them on our site. See This week: 
JOBS: incl. posts with: Glasgow South East Regeneration Agency, Fife Society for the Blind, Homeless World Cup, Edinburgh Cyrenians, Tender specification from SCVO, The Scottish Government
EVENTS: Football and Regeneration – A place for community football?, 20 Aug, Kilmarnock; More Than Furniture 08 – Bigger, Better, Bolder, 27 Aug, Glasgow, Master Composter Training, Sep, Edinburgh; Social Enterprise World Forum, 5 Sep, Edinburgh; Learning Without Limits, 12 Sep, Angus; Sustainable Development Research Centre Annual Conference, 12-13Nov, Inverness

NETWORKS 1st News: The first Social Enterprise Network meeting took place over 4 years ago in Fife at Furniture Plus. Things have moved on a bit since then and there are now 18 Networks both local and thematic and they have been included in the Scottish Government’s Enterprising Third Sector Strategy. The next stage will see some of the Networks adopting legal structures (Argyll & Bute SEN recently became incorporated as a Company Ltd by Guarantee). At the Network Reps meeting in March this year Senscot was asked to produce a rough ‘Blueprint’. ( We’d be happy to hear thoughts on this document.  Send comments to

Film star Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute has a documentary film programme called ‘Stories of Change’ to fund feature length films about individual social entrepreneurs and their projects.  Awards on a case by case basis can be up to 150k US dollars.  Deadline 15th August.  The Skoll Foundation is processing applications.
Last week we circulated the attempt by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) to offer a definition of Social Enterprise – based on three models.  In response, the Social Enterprise Coalition (SEC) welcomed the debate but disputes the relevance of the CAF models.  The SEC has launched a debate among its members so that it will be able ‘‘to explain clearly, consistently and coherently why our diverse membership share the ideals of social enterprise’’.  I suspect they’re going to find that the left wing of our movement hold different ideals from the right wingers.  Then what?

For the 10 years Senscot’s been on the go, Pauline Hinchion has been one of the pioneers who helped establish the social enterprise community in Scotland.  We now hear that she is to replace Ian Gulland as CEO of Community Recycling Network Scotland (CRNS) – which is no great shock as recycling is her enduring passion.  Pauline has proved herself as a successful front line social entrepreneur – it’ll be interesting to see what she makes of this more strategic role.  She certainly knows the terrain.
This week’s bulletin profiles Edinburgh based Community Interest Company (CIC) Set in Motion launched by founders Simon Gall and Sean Barry. The company facilitates activities across Scotland enabling their clients to deal with specific personal issues. They do this by delivering tailored mentoring programmes to young people, families and groups. They will reinvest profits to support community groups, families and young people.
Alexander Solzenitsyn, the Russian writer and dissident, died last week at the age of 89.  I remember him as an individual with the courage to stand against the oppression of the state.  Here are some things he said:
‘‘In our country, the lie has become not just a moral category but a pillar of the state…  The simple step of the courageous man is not to take part in the lie.  If one in forever cautions, can one remain a human being?….  I can say without affectation that I belong to the Russian convict world no less than I do the Russian literature.  I got my education there, and it will last forever… Hastiness and superficiality are the psychic diseases of the 20th century, and more than anywhere else this disease is reflected in the press!

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

Best wishes,
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