Dear members and friends,
I much enjoy books – part of my lifestyle – I frequent charity shops that specialise; I typically browse for an hour – select a few titles – I might take a fancy to anything. I feel no obligation to finish a book – those that fail to engage are set aside – most fail the test. My front room contains 100 linear feet of Ikea bookshelves – which comfortably hold 1500 titles – but they are overflowing – double rows and wee piles everywhere – no system.
On Boxing Day I awaken with a settled determination to sort out this problem; I’ve decided – no matter how long it takes – to examine every book – to sort them into categories – and to recycle several hundred. The task is now complete and the categories are revealing in what they say about my interests. The largest section is general fiction (30ft) arranged by author alphabetically. Next are police thrillers (15ft) – Inspectors Rebus, Wallander, Montalbano etc. Then there are 4 major themes (around 10ft each): philosophy (loosely defined); politics (including social policy); poetry; and memoirists. Bit players include psychology, biography, travel, humour. Three hundred and forty three books back into circulation.
It always intrigues me that I can feel a swoop of energy for certain tasks – while others, perhaps more urgent, remain undone; almost certainly, this is the prompting of our unconscious mind, which has its own priorities. My bookshelf ‘blitz’ took the best part of 4 days sustained effort – and I’m curious why – what drove this impulse for order. Whatever the reason – I am much encouraged by the episode; sair back though.
Already this week, the career politicians have started their puerile Punch and Judy antics – all so negative and wasteful. It was when the professionals were sidelined last year that Scottish politics came to life. The challenge is to reconnect to the energy and creativity at the local level – but neither SNP or Labour have ever shown much enthusiasm for local democracy. The SNP government is using the right words: “we will work collaboratively with COSLA, a range of existing experts on participative democracy and communities – to identify the best way to achieve a truly participative Scottish democracy”. It will be interesting to hear, as the year progresses, whether any of this work is underway. Optimistic blog from Alastair Stoddart who runs the Scotland Desk at the Democratic Society. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=18461 . Due to high demand, the venue for next week’s ‘Future of Local Democracy in Scotland’ event has moved to a new venue. See details, https://senscot.net/?viewid=18467
An honours system which rewards folk who give money to politicians cannot be taken seriously; sensible people are more interested in the individuals who decline such ‘honours’. The French economist Thomas Piketty has just declined his country’s highest award – the Legion d’Honneur – declaring that it’s not the state’s role to decide who is honourable. Honours in an independent Scotland could be the gift of civil society – separate from the political establishment. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=18460
Several of Scotland’s leading social enterprise organisations are working together to produce our sector’s own SE Strategy. The document, being collated by Jonathan Coburn, of Social Value Lab, is at the 2nd draft stage. The main audience for our strategy will be our SE community – 3 or 4 thousand enterprises – 15/20,000 individuals; but we can probably expect new interest from the (awakened) wider civil society. Last year, many thousands of Scots became engaged with civil and political organisations – and now actively campaign for social, economic and environmental justice. Genuine social enterprise (asset locked) offers a radical alternative economic model which seems to coincide with the mood of the current Scottish emergence. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=18466
David Floyd (Beanbags’ blog) does not hold with the Scottish position that SE is an asset locked business model; as a consequence, his blog visits the untamed badlands of SE for private profit – increasingly incomprehensible. His recent posting – about ‘profit for purpose’ got a good crop of responses; I particularly enjoyed those of Andrew Croft and Ben Crouch. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=18465
See David’s full blog, http://beanbagsandbullsh1t.com/
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See http://www.senscot.net/jobsevents.php this week:
JOBS: Bloombox Salads, The Caravan Project/ Family Holiday Co-operative, Ullapool Community Trust, Edinburgh University Students’ Association, Edinburgh Cyrenian Trust, The Voluntary Action Fund
EVENTS: Media Training (Public Sector, Charities, NGOs & Social Enterprises), 4 Feb; Pre-Start Leadership, 5 Feb; Social Enterprise Insights, 12 Feb; Social Impact Measurement, 19 Feb;
TENDERS: Fund Administrator, Annandale and Nithsdale Community Benefit Company; Landscape Maintenance Contract for three year period, Maryhill Housing Association; Briggait Phase 2 Integrated Design Team, The Wasps Trust; CashBack for Communities: Delivery Partner, Scottish Government; http://readyforbusiness.org/?p=1755
The SENs Weekly Update; Kim writes: By April 2015, Health Boards and Local Authorities will need to have integrated governance arrangements for health and social care in place. Local Health and Social Care Partnerships will oversee the delivery of joint strategic commissioning plans – focussing on preventative and anticipatory care and the wellbeing of patients, service users, carers and families. Social Enterprises and other third sector organisations will be key to this transition – providing a real asset based-approach to transforming the health of people and communities. The following set of Case Studies demonstrate how Health SEN members have established working relationships with health and social work within their organisations. See, Case Studies (PDF).
For more SENs News, see http://www.se-networks.net/showbull1.php?articleid=380
The Scottish Community Re:Investment Trust (www.scrt.scot ), launched last month, has been set up as a SCIO – with membership open to all third sector organisations in Scotland. Its goal is to be a financial intermediary ‘owned and controlled by Scotland’s third sector’. To join and show your support, see https://www.scrt.scot/help-scrt-grow/become-a-member/ . One of SCRT’s first actions was to establish – in conjunction with Airdrie Savings Bank – the Anchor Savings Account; a savings account in line with your mission that seeks to harness the resources of Scotland third sector for its own use. The account is now open to both organisations and individuals. See https://airdriesavingsbank.com/scrt/
I am an admirer of the Swedish writer Henning Mankell (inventor of Kurt Wallander) who for a year now is living with cancer. He writes periodic bulletins on how he is coping; physically, mentally, spiritually. I think this is very brave. He says he takes comfort from a quote by writer, Per-Olof Enquist: “One day we shall die. But all the other days we shall be alive”. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=18459
Stimulating blog from Ed Mayo – Secretary General of Cooperatives UK. He predicts 5 key innovations in his sector for 2015 – the one concerning care of the elderly caught my attention. The relationship between the care user and the care workers, he rightly asserts as the key to a system which affords dignity and value. He predicts the emergence of Italian style social cooperatives: “360 degree co-ops – which offer democratic ownership to everyone involved”. This, at last, is a potential organizational model for ‘co-production’. Worth researching. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=18458
The Just Enterprise programme, funded by Scottish Govt, has been on the go for a couple of years now – providing help and support to social enterprises and wider third sector orgs in achieving their trading ambitions. The programme of support includes start-up, business support, business recovery, procurement, leadership/learning services. Here’s their recent report, https://senscot.net/?viewid=18462
The first bulletin of 2015 profiles a new venture between five of Glasgow’s best known social enterprises – The Wood Co-operative. Launched at last month’s GSEN Trade Show, the Wood Co-operative’s founding members include GalGael; Glasgow Wood Recycling; MAKLab; TOG; and The Coach House Trust and was set up to take on projects that might be outside the scope of an individual member. As well as pooling their collective expertise in creating and building products from recycled timber, the Wood Co-operative also offers a range of innovative and accessible training programmes .At a time when we are constantly being reminded of the importance of collaborating, this example on the part of GSEN members is to be commended. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=18463
Fritz Schumacher – who wrote ‘Small is Beautiful’ – has long been an inspiration to many of us. This quote has important insight – as relevant today as ever.
“Voluntary Agencies are of immense value. They tend to have virtually no power; they can offer no security of tenure to their staff. Hence they tend to attract people imbued with a genuine desire to help their fellow men and women and not lord it over them. The government machine is generally very efficient in raising money and relatively inefficient at spending it. Voluntary Agencies, on the other hand, have many people genuinely anxious to serve, which means they are very efficient in spending money; but they have great trouble in raising it. This seems to be an ideal situation for some kind of active symbiosis; let the government raise the money and let Voluntary Agencies spend it.”
That’s all for this week.
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