Senscot Bulletin: 09.02.18

Dear members and friends,
Educated mainly by nuns and priests – much of my instruction around girls and sexual ‘morality’ was not only incompetent, but irresponsible nonsense; challenging these distortions, over the years, has made me an enthusiastic supporter of the feminist movement – much enjoying their recent victories over male stupidity.

I was born in 1940, into a very particular tribe of immigrants to Scotland – who did things the Italian way. This involved the females of the household pandering to the male ego – while everyone knew that around the home, friends, children etc – ‘mama’ was the real boss; paterfamilias chose the car – and sometimes his own clothes. Growing up, I was relieved to be male, but didn’t really question established gender roles; in spite of the hypocrisy, I thought they were eternal. In 1970, when I was 30, Germain Greer published the Female Eunuch – a call to arms for a mighty movement that would change everything – families, work, politics.

During the 1980s/90s I gradually became aware of the ‘New Men’ – lads, better than me, who rejected the traditional male role – who accepted equality in domestic life – particularly, responsibility for childcare. In the very long migratory period of human history – both men and women raised the children; we can assume that in the process, men developed the requisite ‘feminine’ qualities of empathy, patience etc. In the present economic ‘norm’, that both parents need to work, I’m convinced that it’s men raising children – boys being raised to raise children – that will provide a natural pathway to future gender equality.



Each year, Senscot invites financial donations from readers who wish to contribute to the cost of producing this bulletin. Traditionally, around 100 individuals give an average of £25 to become full company members. Senscot’s board is elected by and is accountable to these members. We also invite donations from individuals (donors) or organisations (associate members) who simply wish to support what we do (amounts between £5 and £500). To join or donate, see members page. Numbers for 2018 are now at around 70. Please check list (also see members page) in case we’ve missed your name out. Our ‘membership call’ runs until mid-March.



The Guardian’s Scotland correspondent, Libby Brooks, suggested in a recent piece that while our politics badly needs a revamp, there’s a dearth of new ideas in Scotland. In the first place, she blames the SNP for lacking the confidence to embrace innovation – but also concedes that our policy/research fraternity (think tanks) are not impressive; for this reason, she welcomes the recent launch of the Scottish Policy Foundation (SPF) – “with an estimable cross-party advisory council”. CommonSpace pundit Robin McAlpine (always worth checking out) – takes a very different view of the composition and governance of the new SPF; ‘funded by the Edinburgh financial set’ – he regards it as Scotland’s financial and political elite affirming their influence over the direction of Scotland’s political narratives: “all policy is political”.



Frederic Laloux’s book, Re-inventing Organisations (2014) called itself ‘a guide to creating organisations inspired by the next stage of human consciousness’ – in itself a bold concept. Laloux argues, that the structures and practices of an organisation, are determined by the ‘level of consciousness’ of its founders/leaders; he suggests a spectrum between the traditional top down model – and stages towards collective leadership. This is a longer piece from the Non- Profit Quarterly (winter 2017) – which looks at some key aspects/benefits of collective leadership: what Margaret Wheatley characterised as “a shift from thinking of a leader as a hero – to think of a leader as a host”.



Scotland benefits from a social enterprise platform of professional journalists called the Ferret, which runs a fact-check service. In a recent broadcast, the SNP boasted of 19 benefits it has brought to Scotland, but the Ferret declared two of them ‘false’ – ‘free health care for the elderly’ was enacted by the Lab/Lib coalition in 2002, while the Borders Railway was given Royal Assent in 2006. Whilst it’s impressive that 17 out of 19 SNP claims were declared ‘true’ or ‘mostly true’ – the existence of the Ferret will deter ‘porkies’.



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

JOBS: Museums Galleries Scotland, Factory II Limited, Scottish Borders Social Enterprise Chamber, Bridges Programmes, CRNS, RAMH, The Melting Pot, Govanhill Housing Association, WHALE Arts

EVENTS: Scotland’s Mental Health First Aid, 15 Feb; Great Big Lintel 70s & 80s Musical Extravaganza, 15 Feb; Equi-Power AGM, 15 Feb; Glasgow SEN Meeting, 20Feb; Rural Heritage and Commerciality, 28 Feb

TENDERS: Catering Services for Dumfries and Galloway College, Supported Bus Service for Aberdeen City Council – Aberdeen City Council, The Provision of Tenancy Support Services – Hillhead HA



The SENs Weekly Update:  The SE Census 2017 informed us that around 600 new social enterprises had been set up over the previous two years. Few, however, can claim to be the first on their kind in Scotland. One that certainly does fit this description is Caledonia Cremation – which is Scotland’s first social enterprise funeral director. Caledonian Cremation has been set up by the community development charity Community Renewal Trust as their work was demonstrating that every day another Scottish family falls into debt to pay for an unaffordable funeral. The focus is simple, dignified, with flexible “direct cremations” plus advice about how to arrange a better (and cheaper) ceremony yourself, rather than at the crematorium. One offer and one price (£995) makes it equal for all, rich or poor. The start-up phase, part funded by Scot Govt and ESF, is based in Glasgow – but is available to anyone anywhere on the Scottish mainland.



Although journalist Matthew Parris is a Tory, I’ve always considered him a reasonable and honest one; this is borne out by this furious attack on his own party: “If Theresa May and her cabinet were a prisoner in the dock, mumbling and stumbling, avoiding our eyes, and under pressure dribbling out banalities, repetitions and evasions – the jury would need about thirty seconds to decide. Guilty is all over the pages of this contemptable Tory story.”



Over the last 12 months, this bulletin has reported on the unusually high number of familiar faces in the sector who have decided to ‘move on’. The latest, we hear, is Eric Munro from RBS who will retire in April after 42 years at the Bank. Eric has been a great friend to Senscot and to many others in the sector over the last 10/15 years. As well as being part of RBS’ Community Finance and Social Enterprise division, Eric has also brought his experience and know-how to a number of local and national organisations as a valued Board member. His particular link with Senscot has been via our Annual Ceilidh and Conference which he and RBS have supported since the inaugural event in 2005. Eric will be sorely missed – but we can’t help thinking we’ve not seen the last of him. Wonder who’ll be next?



In December, at our SE Conference, the first Community Bond for the Scottish social enterprise community was launched – against a backdrop of stories about cashflow and financing issues. The Bond is a vehicle by which we can begin to address these obstacles – and will allow both individuals (employees; trustees; volunteers etc) and organisations within the sector to invest back into the ongoing sustainability of our sector. To date, the response has been encouraging – and Scottish Communities Finance Ltd is now keen to translate its many ‘notes of interest’ into actual purchases of Bonds. To remind you of what the Bond is about, see Bond Offer – and if you have not got round to following up on your ‘note of interest’, please take a few minutes to complete the Application Form .



This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise based in Dumfries and Galloway and featured in our most recent SE Briefings. Let’s Get Sporty (LGS) was set up in 2012 with the objective of using sport and physical activity as a vehicle in addressing reducing youth unemployment in the area. Through a range of activities, LGS has been able to support over 150 young people into employment since 2012. Last year (2017), 31 out of 39 young people progressed into full time education or employment. Their ‘Let’s Get Employed’ programme is contracted with local housing associations and employability services – with remaining income coming via funding from the Robertson Trust and the Holywood Trust.



In an anthology of poetry called ‘Poems that make Grown Women Cry’ – the writer Sebastian Faulks contributes an Afterword – in which he says:


” Linguists and neurologists have suggested that poetry speaks to a primitive part of the brain (some have tried to plant a flag there, somewhere in the right hemisphere) … Without venturing into the language of neuroscience, it is roughly this: poetry speaks to a vestigial part of the mind that was more active at the time homo Sapiens was becoming what she/he is. When we respond to poetry we engage a part of our being that is more primitive and in some way purer that the consciousness available minute by minute to our busy left-side brain… people who cannot respond to poetry, are perhaps more ‘evolved’ – having shed the primitive neural connections to which poetry most directly speaks.”


That’s all for this week.


Best wishes,




Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210