Senscot Bulletin: 08.11.13

Dear members and friends,

 The people of Andalucia – Los Andaluces – have much in common with the Scots. The same feudal land tenure – deep poverty – dogged resilience. But the mass industrialisation of Scotland – coal, steel, engineering etc – never happened here; the mindset is more akin to that of my own forebearers from Italian land poverty – the canny reserve of peasant farmers. The easy charms of waiters of the costa is a learned skill; the true Andaluz sits behind a private threshold which few tourists will ever cross.
 I have friends (bilingual) who are raising their family here – accepted into the close knit community of one of the white villages – an hour into the mountains. Sitting in the village bar this week – following fragments of the local craic – good feelings; Raphael – big guy, early sixties, has been a widower for 20 years; Ana – quiet, thoughtful woman – was left with two children 25 years ago when her man was killed by a tractor. She’s mid-fifties now – the kids are away – she’s moved in with Raphael – a new couple. Last week 50 villagers gathered outside their house – ringing those wee bells that goats and cows wear; a kind of celebration.
 In the current recession – many young Andalucians are drifting back to the family village – to grandparents who never really left the land – with their plots in ‘the campo’ growing produce – who retain the skills of pre-industrial subsistence. If the Western economy destroys itself – and its back to basics – I hope I find myself in one of these villages.

We still have copies of Kindness – Laurence’s latest collection of musings. £10 plus £2 postage; or 2 for £20 – postage paid. Christmas pressies? See,

For several years now – Senscot has been protesting the ideological shift being imposed on the Third Sector by a UK government intent on marketising everything (New Labour started this trend). We continue to argue that the fundamental premise of Big Society Capital – that the Third Sector should distort itself into a profit generating ‘asset class’ – is wrong; it could only have emerged from ignorance of our purpose. Sector resistance has been feeble – but 4 associates of Glasgow Caledonian University have published a welcome critique of Social Impact Bonds – identifying some of their more detrimental consequences. Senscot is generously referenced. See,

The Scottish Govt, this week, launched its consultation on the Community Empowerment Bill – that will run until 24th January 2014 – see Heralded as the ‘the greatest transfer of power since devolution itself’, the Scottish community sector will be keeping a watchful eye to see if the Bill retains its ambition and adopts the 5 key principles of community empowerment as identified by the Scottish Community Alliance – see,

The Scottish Rural Parliament will convene for the first time in November 2014 and, with funding from Scottish Govt, recruitment is underway for a Co-ordinator. The Rural Parliament is not a formal part of Govt or Parliament – i.e. it’s not a legislative or decision-making body. It is a ‘bottom-up’ process of involvement and debate between the people of rural Scotland and policy makers to enable better understanding, improved policy and action to address rural issues – inspired by successful examples across Europe. See,

The BIG Lottery in Scotland this week announced the tender for the contract to run the ‘Community Shares Support Service for Scotland’ is now open. The contract will run for 3 years and will raise awareness of community shares, offering practical support to communities through the process of share issue, to enable them to develop local services and facilities. A similar service has been running in England in recent years where over 15,000 people have invested up to £15m in around 100 community share issues. See more,

Article this week in Civil Society Mag challenging the third sector’s cynicism towards engagement with the corporate world. The piece, by Robert Ashton, suggests that as the corporate world sees a values-driven approach as a critical part of commercial success, there will be considerable opportunities for what he describes as ‘mutually beneficial unconventional partnerships’ between corporates and third sector organisations. It does beg the question about who is being cynical? See,

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:
JOBS: Liber8 Lanarkshire Ltd, The Action Group, Share Scotland, Almond Enterprises, Highland Home Carers Ltd, Young Scot, RAMH, Place 2 Be, Scottish Rural Parliament, EVOC, Turning Point Scotland
EVENTS: How to write a business plan, 13 Nov; National Short Story Week: Fiction for Fearties, 14 Nov; Wikipedia Editathon, 16 Nov; A Social Entrepreneur Chat Show, 19 Nov;
TENDERS: Food for Thought (South Glasgow) – NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Torry Community Enterprise Centre Consultation – Torry Community Council and ng homes Landscape Maintenance: 2014-2016 – North Glasgow Housing Association Ltd.

The SENs Weekly Update: Kim writes: The SE Conference and Ceilidh takes place next Thursday/Friday (14th/15th). 160 delegates have now signed up – see A regular feature at the Conference is the Dragons’ Den. This year’s prizes include – £5k from the Dragons; 2 days consultancy from Rocket Science; One-to-one coaching from the Social Enterprise Academy; and the Audience Prize. Over the last couple of years, we have ‘crowdfunded’ the Audience Prize – both times collecting over £1,000.We are planning the same again this year – but are keen to get ‘pledges’ in before the event. To make a contribution in advance – £5, £10 or more if you can manage – here’s the link our Paypal page. See full Conference programme,   For more SENs News, see 

The RBS SE100 Index has been around for 4 years now and , in its own way, provides interesting info/’market intelligence’ on our SE landscape. It was set up to allow SEs to chart their growth and benchmark themselves against others. It re-launched this year with a new, revamped web platform. Nearly 900 SEs have registered, with around 90 from Scotland – you’ll recognise a few familiar names.

The Community Transport movement in Scotland got a boost this week with the announcement of a new £1m community minibus fund. The one-off fund, for this financial year (2013/14), was launched at the Community Transport Association’s Conference in Edinburgh and will help around 25 community transport operators buy new vehicles to expand their services or replace older vehicles. The fund itself will be jointly administered by Community Transport Association (CTA) and SCVO.  See more,

Social Enterprise Scotland (SES) held its big jamboree at the Parliament on Wednesday evening – with John Swinney presenting the SE Awards Scotland for 2013. We listed the winners the other week but here they are again,  Once again, congratulations to all. The event remains one of the mainstays of our SE calendar in Scotland – with around 200 folk attending. See delegate list,

This week’s bulletin profiles an Edinburgh based workers co-op that, this week, gained national recognition through the Observer Food Mag awards after just 12 months trading. The New Leaf Workers Co-op is collectively owned and managed by the people who work there. Their aim is to offer affordable, vegetarian wholefoods, with a focus on organic, locally sourced and fair-trade products, with as little packaging as possible. As a workers’ co-op, they pay themselves a living wage, and further profits are channelled back into the business and toward seeding new projects with similar aims. For more, see

A quote from Warren Buffet – the billionaire philanthropist.

"I tell college students, when you get to be my age you will be successful if the people who you hope to have love you, do love you. Charlie and I know people who have buildings named after them, receive great honours etc, and nobody loves them – not even the people who give them great honours. Charlie and I talk about wouldn’t it be great if we could buy love for $1 million. But the only way to be loved is to be lovable. You always get back more than you give away."

That’s all for this week.
Best wishes,


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