Senscot Bulletin 09-01-2004



Dear members and friends,


Escaped the blizzards of Hogmanay – alone to Spain – a
longing for solitude.  Via google find a
wee studio on the beach near Estepona. 
It’s cheap – “But it’s not been used for a while”.  As I unpack – two inch black beetle (with
horns) scurries under the bed – a lizard clings immobile near the ceiling – the
sheets feel damp.  But in the morning
the sun shines wonderfully – as it has every day – beautiful spring
weather.  With an almost religious sense
I walk the seashore – each day pushing myself further – grateful that four
months after my operation I can feel my strength returning.  Each morning I drive to where I reached yesterday
– park – plod ever West towards Gibraltar – on the horizon.

            Today in a
wee cove I come upon an abandoned villa – huge – an acre of overgrown garden
right down to the beach.  The style is
1920s – the earliest I’ve seen on my walks. 
Spend half hour wandering through derelict rooms and terraces – the
ghosts of jazz-age house parties – wonder who these people were – all dead now
– a haunting melancholy.  But you’re
still alive Laurence – get back to the land of the living!  It’s not as simple as that.  But it is as simple as that!

            The Spanish
make lunch time special – bustling beach restaurant – chatter and laughter –
the chink of cutlery – the ringing of glasses – amazing smells of prawns and
garlic.  Take off my hat – sun filtering
through eucalyptus trees – finding its way to my table – my glass – my
hands.  Toddler wobbles over from
adjoining table – dribbles on my knee – wee face ecstatic.  Accept invite to join three young couples
and their kids for long lunch.  Liam has
us all in stitches.  Solitude is fine
but there is nothing as enjoyable as communion with people.  (See end piece.)



The remarkable advances made by social enterprise in the UK
over the past couple of years is largely due to the leadership of the Social
Enterprise Unit at the DTI – and in particular to the drive of Barbara Phillips
who set up and led the unit.  Before the
seasonal break we received an e-mail from Barbara announcing that for ‘personal’
reasons she was leaving the unit (
This week she writes again to inform the social enterprise community that the
unit is to be subsumed into the small business service at the DTI (
As a civil servant we could hardly expect her to comment that this is a
terrible idea.  But Glenys Thornton,
chair of the Social Enterprise Coalition is a politician – has no such
inhibitions and has made her views clear (
It will be interesting to see how the UK social enterprise community reacts to
this loss of profile because this decision means that social enterprise in
England has just become a small eccentric fish in the huge Trade & Industry
Department pool which neither values nor understands it.  In Scotland we swim in the small pool of the
Executive’s Voluntary Issues Unit which has just created a dedicated Social
Economy Team.  I have to say that it
looks like we have the better deal. 
Here are some reactions from the sector in England.   (
We’ll update this link all week as feedback comes in.



Liam Black the social entrepreneur who leads FRC from
Liverpool remarked in a recent article, “One nice bit of new jargon for you.
Declan Jones at Heriot Watt University is trying to replace the horrible term
“non-profit” or “not for profit”. He has come up with a description of social
businesses as “more than profit” companies, which helps focus on the positive
and signal that profit-making is a part of what we are about.”  Liam likes this term and so do we.  It captures the essence of social
enterprise.  ‘More Than Profit’ would be
a good title for the forthcoming social economy Action Plan.



News from the Scottish Executive is that that when
the Social Economy Action Plan is launched they will simultaneously announce an
open competition for the management of the Futurebuilders Fund.



YELLOW PAGES: Space constraints mean we can’t carry every
notice you send. But please send in any relevant items (before noon Thursday)
to and we’ll post them
on our site.  This week:


JOBS: 21 vacancies, including posts at Jubilee Scotland,
Volunteer Edinburgh, EVOC, Development Trusts Association Scotland, Keeping
Well in Greater Govan, Intowork, Oxgangs Sure Start Project.


EVENTS: “Deepening Democracy” free workshop, Edinburgh,
18-20 Feb 2004; CBS Network’s Gathering, Edinburgh, 15/16 Jan 2004; CHE
Lectures: Business & Sustainability; Corporate Accountability and
Environmental Justice, Edinburgh, Jan-Feb 2004, GCVS training courses; Festival
Of Middle Eastern Spirituality And Peace, Edinburgh, 27 Feb – 7 March 2004,
Glasgow, March-May.


School for Social Entrepreneurs (Fife) is recruiting for its
2004 course, to start in April.


For details on these and more:



Journalist friend phoned the Scottish Executive last week
for latest news on the Social Economy Action Plan.  Put through to press office – makes request – put on hold.  Hears press officer ask colleague, “What’s
the social economy?” and the reply, “Haven’t a clue”.  This is a very real problem which affects us all.  Our work has a very low priority with our
MSPs.  That’s why the Action Plan is
still dithering somewhere.



This week’s bulletin profiles the Strathpeffer Pavilion
Association, a registered charity and company limited by guarantee. It is
dedicated to restoring and revitalising the famous and historic Strathpeffer
Pavilion that has been out of use since the late 1970s.  The Pavilion, owned by Scottish Historic
Buildings Trust (SHBT), will be leased to SPA, which will furnish, equip and manage
it as a flexible multi-functional social, cultural and entertainment centre for
the whole Highland community including – Arts and Entertainment programmes, a
restaurant/café, a retail area and spa-related products and services.
Restoration work began in June 2003 with the handover expected to take place in
the summer of 2004. Further info,



Last week Finance Minister Andy Kerr launched ‘E-Procurement
Scotland’ – an online joint purchasing scheme run by the Executive to help
central, local government and the NHS save money.  What is not yet widely known is that this system is open to the
voluntary sector.  Probably take time to
bed down – but this could potentially be massive.



Phone call from friend who attended the annual staff
conference of Communities Scotland – 27/28 November at Crieff Hydro.  She was much impressed by the level of
goodwill from rank and file of CS  staff
towards social economy issues.  A
genuine desire to learn what they could do. 
Most heartening.



From a speech given by R.D.Laing – Scottish psychiatrist to
an audience of psychotherapists – in Edinburgh – October 1983.


“There is nothing in the world more enjoyable than to be in
communion with another human being. 
This has nothing to do with technique. 
Once it is there it is a field – a sort of force field that is not to be
discovered within the investigative competence of science.  So I will have to call it spiritual.  It is the tuning in to a spiritual field
that is always there.  It has to do with
attunement – two instruments getting in tune with each other – harmonising.  It is quite an experience.  In Christian terminology the name they have
given to this healing force is the Holy Ghost. 
Holy means healthy and spirit means ghost.  There is a healthy spirit that exists in us and between us and
that is the only healing power that exists as far as I know.  It exists not just between us as a single
species – but throughout the whole of creation”. 


Let’s make this a great year.  Good luck with your adventures.

Best wishes,



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