Senscot Bulletin: 09.06.17

 Dear members and friends,


Writing this the day before the General Election – you’re reading it the day after – so you know more than me; regardless of the result, I want to pay tribute to the way Jeremy Corbyn conducted his campaign – its ongoing significance. Corbyn tells it straight – honest rhetoric without rancour or personal insult; he passionately champions the policies of his dreams – his obvious enjoyment is attractive. I am minded of Jose Mujica (Uruguayan President 2010 -2015) and of Pope Francis: two other counterculture guys who, improbably, found themselves in the mainstream; I refer to their casual indifference to the trappings of power and privilege; their conviction that, apart from our circumstances, we are none of us much different. I rate Corbyn very highly; not saying I anticipated his current surge – but less surprised than most.
            Whilst campaigning for the Democratic nomination in the USA – Bernie Saunders warned his supporters that – even as President – the scale of resistance they would face from the ‘billionaire class’ could make it all but impossible for them to implement their goals. I think Corbyn understands this – that only a broad and active social movement could potentially confront the spivs who have captured all the money – so this is where he campaigns. Such a movement needs first to find a leader who has ‘got past’ the distraction of personal wealth; I think we can now assume they’ve found someone. Blair and Brown Associates basically ‘sold the jerseys’ – rewarded with sweetheart City directorships – not even embarrassed. We can imagine their amused condescension at Corbyn’s fondness for his allotment.


Set alarm for five am and woke to high drama – the collapse of the Theresa May brand and a hung parliament! Will she try to soldier on? Will some kind of progressive alliance emerge? No one knows what comes next. Scotland has returned a more sustainable spread of MPs; with a hung parliament the SNP’s reduced batch of 35 can expect increased influence. (Get Angus Robertson to Holyrood, fast). Although Corbyn didn’t win power – his campaign was the seismic shift; his bold honest style – less shouting, more listening – is changing the way we do politics; well done Jeremy.


Suzanne Zeedyk of Dundee University – who gave the keynote address at recent gathering of Scotland’s head teachers – has a deserved reputation around early years child development.  Her provocative presentation argued that the Scottish Govt’s attainment challenge will fail unless more attention is paid to emotional needs of Scottish children.  What schools describe as ‘disruptive’ behaviour is often ‘distressed’ behaviour from children experiencing trauma from ‘adverse childhood experiences’ – a cry for help.  The ‘attainment gap’ has an emotional dimension which we are only beginning to understand.  Zeedyk’s talk lasts 42 minutes – but will reward your perseverance.


Enjoyed this piece by our old friend John McMullan from Northern Ireland – which argues for a ‘rationalisation’ of the way we approach public services: ‘delivered through a range of mutuals, co-operatives, social enterprises and direct public sector bodies’.  He points out that we already deliver social housing through socially purposed housing associations – palliative care through a network of hospices – financial services through Northern Ireland’s credit union network etc.  He wants to see adaptations of this model extended into locally owned, infrastructure mutuals covering energy, transport, recycling etc.  ‘Nationalisation’ is too ‘big’; the advantages of ‘scale’ can better be achieved through collaborating community enterprises.


Since the death of Franco at the end of the 1970s – the Basque Country in the North of Spain has dramatically revived its economy – to now lead several international rankings. In spite of clunky language, I enjoyed this article – arguing that a key element of any socio-economic recovery is a ‘transformative narrative’ – the story citizens tell themselves about what is possible. The values and philosophy of the Mondragon co-operative movement is considered pivotal in the Basque experience. In 2014, a ‘transformative narrative’ nearly released the potential of our country; we need to be patient a bit longer.
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:


JOBS: Rocket Science UK Ltd, Development Trust Association Scotland, Senscot, The Larder Cook School, Wasps Studios, Reachout with Arts In Mind, Community Ownership Support Service, RAMH,


EVENTS: Edinburgh Social Enterprise Network Meeting, 13 Jun; Fathers Day Parent & Child Cookery Class, 18 Jun; EXPLORE Quality Co-working 2017 2-day Workshop, 22 Jun; Social in the Gardens, 2 Aug


TENDERS: Graduate Level Apprenticeships – SDS; Local Creative Networks Research Project – Creative Scotland; Mental Health Outreach Service – Aberdeen City Council IT Disposal Resale & Recycling – Argyll and Bute Council and more.  Join the Ready for Business Linked-In group and follow on Twitter.
The SENs Weekly Update: With the support of Scottish Govt, Social Firms Scotland and Senscot have re-engaged with the EU SEN  and, this week, have been attending a Peer Review session in Prague on ‘How to involve municipalities in the social economy – what are the most effective models?’ The Peer Review focussed on three case studies: The Local Service Economy (Flanders); Social Co-operative Dolmen (Milan); and Municipal Social Enterprises (Slovakia) – with the aim of sharing good practice and exploring opportunities for transferring learning across the member states. The three cases studies in question present very different approaches in which co-operation between the SEs and public administrations can benefit  citizens through creating employment and building social capital. The last iteration of EU SEN (2012-14) produced the following recommendations.


The Partnership and Procurement Hub is now looking to recruit to further members to its staff team. The P&P Hub is a partnership involving Senscot; Social Firms Scotland, the Scottish Community Alliance; and Co-operative Development Scotland. Its role is to support social enterprises and third sector organisations looking to form partnerships and consortia – either for working together or with a view to bidding for public sector contracts. The posts being advertised include an additional Hub Co-ordinator (see – application pack) as well as a Hub Support Officer (see – application pack). Closing date for applications is Friday 23rd June 2017 – with interviews during week beginning 3rd July. For further info, contact


Driving down to North Berwick last Wednesday – a woman is being interviewed by Radio Scotland, Patricia Gachagan, about her new book. It seems that ten years ago – when her son, Eliot, was born – that she was simultaneously diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS); her book, Born Together, describes the past decade living with Eliot and MS; her ‘spirit’ urged me to get hold of the book. Reading it has made me reflect again – that the mysterious source of ‘hope’ is deep within us – with its own wellspring. If you, or anyone close to you, is coping with the anxiety of a chronic degenerative condition like MS – you will find courage and inspiration from Patricia Gachagan’s story.


Wednesday’s Scottish Review asked nine of its regular correspondents to comment on the situation facing our country as a result of terrorism; of the many helpful insights on offer – I think Alasdair McKillop makes an excellent point. Liberal Democracy claims our loyalty, he says, because it’s the system of govt. we are freest to ignore; it provides the most freedom for the expression of individual creativity – like pop concerts. On Sunday, I watched ‘one love Manchester’ – with millions of viewers across the country I shared a sense of spiritual uplift; McKillop asks “what govt. or church could have achieved such simple healing – on the same scale?


This week’s bulletin profiles a new social enterprise that may be unique in Scotland – as well as throughout the UK. Doggy Chillin is a social enterprise that educates people about dogs – offering courses to young people in schools, teaching them how to be safe round dogs and how to understand them. To pupils who are not confident with reading, we provide a safe environment within the school for them to read to a Doggy Chillin trained dog. Doggy Chillin also provide one to one consultations with dog owners who would like a more rewarding relationship with their dogs. Doggy Chillin is also on the lookout for land to rent in or near Renfrewshire where they plan opening a dog day care centre – also to be run as a social enterprise.


I enjoy studies which affirm the interconnectedness of all of nature; this is extracted from an article by biologist David George Haskell called ‘Life is the network, not the self ‘.


What if the fundamental unit of biology is not the self, but the network? What if plants, and really, all species, are made of interacting relationships and networked connections that are intertwined? A simple garden experiment looking at the biological make-up of a leaf revealed to Professor David Haskell that a maple leaf is not an individual made of plant cells, but "a community of cells from many domains and kingdoms of life" — fungus, bacteria, protist, alga, nematode, and plant….. All major ecosystems – forests, coral reefs, grassland, ocean plankton etc – are built on conversations between interdependent partners; cut the conversations and the ecosystems fall apart.


That’s all for this week.
Best wishes,




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