Senscot Bulletin: 09.05.08

Dear members and friends,

Out on the Costa del Sol for a week in glorious sunshine- wee hotel on the internet – place I have never been before near Fuengirola. Fine old Andalucian house (1954), a style I love – old Moorish tiles – rustic furniture etc – but the building is tired now – and a bit dejected. My stay is made all right by our hostess – a beautiful gracious lady in reception called Paqui (feminine of Paco?) She is middle-aged, with a shy smile – and a fierce squint. As I write I am watching her from the terrace – patient, humble and kind to everyone. I think she may be a Buddha – a cross-eyed Buddha.
The next beach east of here, Playa Las Dunas, is a protected area of natural sand dunes – a Reserva Nacional – where development is prohibited. It has fine sand and marvellous wild flowers but it has been colonised by the sun worshippers – I don’t mean the topless kind – but ‘struth – bare bums, danglers, the lot. Stopped at the beach hut for a drink – half the punters in shorts – half au natural (and naturelle). This is new to me but soon tippled – don’t look down. Toyed with idea of dropping my kegs – but thankfully resisted.
An hour ago a young Spanish woman – paralysed –was wheeled on to the terrace on a hydraulic trolley-thing – even the head-rest is electrical. Her carer has gone on an errand – she and I are alone and she has started singing. Her voice is small but it is firm and true. Can’t pick up any words but music has it own language. Her song is about hope.
(200 of these intros can be browsed here –

John Findlay is a friend and colleague. So I shared a wee bit of the distress he must have felt at the demise of One Plus – the social enterprise he spent 17 years creating.  Inevitably, in the rush to discover what went wrong, little attention has been given to what One Plus achieved – but it was considerable and for all those years it gave a voice to thousands of our most needy single parents in the west of Scotland. I thought that this week’s OSCR Report was balanced – that there are indeed lessons to be learned. But what entrepreneur reading this does not remember the periods of robbing Peter to pay Paul – to keep all the plates in the air. As many social entrepreneurs know, it’s often a lonely job. The main lesson for me from the collapse of One Plus is that when a business becomes a certain size, heroic juggling is no longer good enough. The Third Sector has many businesses which are sound but which lack the liquidity to function effectively. In the private sector, investment is supplied by the owner or shareholders who expect a profit. The social enterprise sector needs to recognise and fill this gap. Here are the main findings

In a recent letter to New Start magazine, Billy Maxwell regretted the passing of community development practice from the UK. “Community Development enshrined rights, independence and the need for sophisticated awareness of powers” In the current New Start, Edward Harkins adds his voice to this controversy – comparing traditional community-based development work to the vague, lukewarm language of Scottish Government’s ‘commitment’ on community empowerment. We need to ask where the community development ‘profession’ has been hiding in recent years while independent community structures across central Scotland have been taken under municipal control.

Came across an interview this week with our pal from Kibble, Graham Bell. Graham talks about the KibbleWorks initiative where 16 businesses provide work experience for 22 of their young people. This “apprenticeship” arm covers warehousing, car mechanics, gardening, catering and joinery amongst other trades. Here’s the article in full 

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but submit jobs and events and we’ll post them on our site. See This week: 
JOBS: 20 vacancies, incl. posts with: Re-Union, Beulah Scotland, Wasps Artists’ Studios, Bridges Programmes Ltd, Fife Community Food Project, Scottish Government, Johnstone Castle Community Learning Centre
EVENTS: 18 events Eat to the Beat 3, 6 Jun, Glasgow; Edinburgh Treefest and Woodmarket, 15 Jun, Edinburgh; Southside Festival, 28 Jun, Glasgow; Social Enterprise World Forum, 5 Sep, Edinburgh

NETWORK 1st: Colin writes: While Laurence has been sunning himself in Andalucia, I’ve been traipsing the highways and byways of Berlin and Genoa. It’s been hard going but the weather’s been a bonus. What has been most striking is the contrast in social enterprises between the respective countries. Germany seems very much geared towards the social firm model whereas the Italian model is mainly the co-operative. For more, see

Two weeks ago, we mentioned the growing interest in Social Return on Investment (SROI) as a method of measuring the impact of our work and the recent launch of the new SROI UK Network. On the back of this, we hear that the English Government is to spend about £350,000 over the next three years on developing a standard for this form of measurement. They hope that a series of events and research will develop “greater consensus and standardisation” in the measurement of social impact. For more, see

The Social Enterprise Academy will be opening a new office in Inverness shortly. They have appointed Nicola Welsh as Programme Manager to oversee things. The Academy is now able to offer fully funded leadership and management programmes and modules to those employed by social enterprises based in the Highlands & Islands. See more

The UK`s first social investment conference took place in London this week. The idea behind `Good Deals` was to bring together a range of contributors to debate and learn about new opportunities for financing social change. Here are two links on the event. One giving some background and the second giving a flavour of Nigel Kershaw`s (Big Issue Invest) contribution, calling for the same incentives for social enterprises as those given to SMEs and, interestingly, questioning the value of the CIC model. Apparently only 3 of the UK`s 1700 CICs have received inward investment so far. For more, see

This week’s bulletin profiles a community facility in Kilbirnie in Ayrshire that provides a range of services for the local community. Radio City was set up in 2004 on the site of a former cinema, bang in the middle of Kilbirnie Town Centre. It runs a café, a fitness centre and also can provide conference facilities for up to 200 folk. They are also offering office space for rent with three offices (130 – 300sq ft) currently available for either short or longer term leases. They are self contained and come with a reception facility.
For more, see

Reading the diaries of Simon Gray, the playwright – hearing about the decrepitude of a 70 year old is not amusing: as I assumed – will need to watch my own musings – some interesting thoughts though:
“TS Eliot wrote that our beginnings never know our ends and it seems to me as true that our ends never know our beginnings – how could they – all those years ago – when one thing led to another – and conclusions were somehow reached before choices were made – when you became a man in an altered condition as a result of a slip of a tongue, or a moment of inattention. They felt more like lapses than choices – one lapsed into the future as possibly one lapses into infidelity or into bankruptcy or death ”.

That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures

Best wishes,

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