Senscot Bulletin: 08.08.14

Dear members and friends,

            Friend emails old snapshot – four of us in Paris for a long weekend; two couples – relaxed sightseeing/eating/drinking. Strolling aimlessly in the afternoon – my friend Ronnie spots the art deco façade of the famed George V Hotel. Perhaps an unfulfilled lifelong ambition – because he’s determined that we’re going in for a drink. It’s too posh – I say – a ‘ram up’ – but he’s off.
            The marble lobby could be in the Palace of Versailles – the reception/lounge area is a vast expanse of creamy beige – flashes of colour from sumptuous flower arrangements. We sit down – but even Ronnie realises this is a mistake; we’ve strayed into the realm of the super-rich – all thoughts on escape. The waiters are formally dressed – one approaches me purposefully – decide not to protest if he asks us to leave.
            The waiter says – you used to come into the Caprice Pizzeria in Leith Walk; I look at him – mind racing. You’re Marco; and you’re Demarco; an amazing but warm re-union – we liked each other; much handshaking and merriment. With practised Italian charm – Marco sort of takes over; we do a great house white here – he winks – we all nod. He brings our wine bucket with lots of nuts and nibbles and napkins. We all chat of fond remembered times and people.
            I enjoy old photos/memories; increasingly for me there’s a sense of time reeling away – which of course it is – and that’s okay. Great line from Bukowski: And the days run away like wild horses over the hills.           


Last Tuesday I watched an hour long documentary about the history of Duke Street in Glasgow; both educational and inspirational. The film included an account of events in the late 1960s – when Glasgow Corporation wanted to demolish 400 tenements on the south side of the street. The local community opposed and defeated the Council – Reidvale Housing Association was formed – the prototype for communities managing their own housing. The history of community owned HAs is very much a Glasgow and West of Scotland story – one which deserves much more recognition than it has ever received – because the movement was at odds with the narrow municipalism of the once all powerful Labour Party. This film should be compulsory viewing for all council officials – many of whom still don’t realize what the future will look like. See,


At the ‘Big Debate’ on Tuesday – the honest candour of the studio audience was a pleasing contrast to the practised evasion of the politicians and spin doctors; but the audience questions selected were overwhelmingly about financial concerns. I was reminded of what Val McDermid wrote in a recent Guardian article: “When you realise you’re in a relationship – in which the two of you want different things – you don’t hesitate because you’re not sure what you’re going to get in the divorce settlement; you make the decision and then you sort things out afterwards”. See,


Echoing Green is a major global incubator for social entrepreneurs; this is a revealing article by one of its leaders.  The USA understanding of social enterprise tends to include both ‘asset locked’ and ‘private profit’ businesses; the choice is presented here as a purely pragmatic one – but in the real world it’s based on values.  In the UK and Europe – we insist on a clearer fiscal separation between the public good and private gain.  This distinction – so obvious to us – is a constant irritant to the lobbyists for market fundamentalism.  We need to remind ourselves of the core values which make our third sector so special.  See,


There was a serious discussion this week in the Scottish Parliament around the definition of Social Enterprise (Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee). Frequent reference was made to the ‘Scottish SE Code of Practice’ as a sound basis – but some contributors expressed the view that its insistence on an ‘asset lock’ may be too restrictive. Senscot’s position is that SE is about the third sector becoming more business-like; the private sector becoming more ‘social’ is most welcome – but calling it SE only confuses things. Does our community need to re-visit this? See full discussion,


NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:

JOBS: Life Changes Trust, Oban Phoenix, The Church of Scotland, Bridgend Inspiring Growth, WorkingRite, RAMH, Ladywood Leisure Centre, McSence Group

EVENTS: Women of the Merchant City, 9 Aug; INSP Conference 2014, 12 Aug; Review Writing, 15 Aug; Dearest Scotland, 19 Aug; Miss.Fit Sister’s Vintage Circus, 23 Aug;

TENDERS: Training Initiative Programme – Fresh Start, Provision of Addiction Recovery Services – Argyll and Bute Council, Medium Value Construction Projects – The Common Services Agency and more.


The SENs Weekly Update; Kim writes: On Wednesday, Senscot and Voluntary Action Scotland (VAS) co-hosted the third event for Third Sector Interfaces (TSI’s) and SENs – with a focus on working with national social enterprise partners. 40 people attended, representing 20 TSIs, taking the opportunity for TSI’s and a number of key national SE support organisations to explore how they can work better together to support TSIs in their delivery of the social enterprise common services. Just Enterprise, Firstport, Social Enterprise Academy and Scottish Enterprise all outlined the support they respectively provide to social enterprises. In addition, Edinburgh and Dundee SENs also outlined their approach to social enterprise development as TSI partners. One of the main outcomes of the day was the agreement on the need for a two way referral process between TSI’s and those delivering national support programmes.

For more SENs News, see


Senscot will be hosting its 10th SE Conference and Ceilidh this year – dates are 13th/14th November. We expect to have booking forms and a draft programme ready over the next couple of weeks – taking on some of the pointers from last year’s feedback. The event will again be at the Westerwood Hotel, near Cumbernauld. Being our 10th, we’ll be including at least one session on reflections on the progress made within our SE community since the first Ceilidh in Nov 2005 – and some of the challenges that lie ahead. See 2013 Report,


When Harry Burns was Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer – many of us were grateful for his passionate explorations of Scotland’s chronic health issues.  Now a professor at Strathclyde Yooni – this recent paper asks an unusual question – ‘What causes health?’ – as distinct from ‘What causes illness?’  The short paper argues that it is the feeling of being in control of our lives – being able to make decisions for ourselves – which is an important determinant of how individuals create health.  See,


One of the columns I visit each week is that of Lucy Mangan in the Guardian weekend Mag; she’s a down to earth leftie – pawky north of England humour. This week’s piece was a full blown rant – against the new phenomenon of mixed income high rise housing – but with separate doors for rich and poor folk – so they don’t have to meet. We all already know that where we live is economically segregated – but somehow the two doors to the same building demonstrates an insensitivity that diminishes everyone.



This week’s bulletin highlights a good news story of a social enterprise that has risen from the ashes. Last year, Ness Soap went into liquidation. The good news is that, with the support of the Calman Trust, Ness Soap is back in business – trading under the name Ness Handmade Toiletries (NHT). NHT, based in Inverness, will provide training to 16 young people each year and will be selling two of the products from Ness Soaps’ former range of goods. The products will be sold at Cafe Artysans, another social enterprise in Inverness supported by the Calman Trust. The Calman Trust provides support and training for about 400 young school or home leavers who want to develop skills for living and working. For more see,


I enjoy the ‘Scottishness’ which William McIlvanney espouses.

“Scotland was born poor. There are two main ways to react to poverty. One is to fall in love with money since that is what you do not have. The other is to generate values beyond the economic, since otherwise you acknowledge your own inferiority. No matter how much money Andrew Carnegie made, he couldn’t forget that he came from a place where a person wouldn’t be measured by the weight of the wallet but by the quality of the humanity. When Burns wrote A Man’s A Man, he was doing more than creating a song. He was locating and preserving the DNA of Scottishness – a belief in equality beyond any limitation of class, status or wealth. It was appropriate that it was sung at the opening of our parliament. The essential Scottishness, of course, is not a matter of purity of blood. It is an amalgam of all people who have come to live here. European, Asian, South American, whatever. Scottishness is not a pedigree lineage, it’s a mongrel tradition.” 

That’s all for this week. 

Best wishes,


Subscribe to this bulletin:

To unsubscribe or change subscription address/ e-mail